Henricksen: The sudden rise of George Conditt of Corliss

When George Conditt went for a basketball workout on Monday, the junior spent a good portion of time working on speed, agility and strength before he ever sought out a basketball.

First of all, that’s not the norm for a teen-aged basketball player. Getting shots up or a five-on-five run are typically the first priorities.

Second, it’s particularly impressive considering Conditt, who attends little-known Corliss, is being showered with basketball love and attention for the very first time in his life as the breakout player in Chicago.

“That’s who he is and what he’s about,” says Corliss coach Harvey Jones of his rising star. “What makes him special is he’s so hungry. He breathes it.”

Conditt says a talk he received from Jones last summer was a springboard for his confidence and development as a player.

“Coach sat me down and told me what was out there for me,” says Conditt. “If I worked hard, if I strived to be great, then I could be a Division I player. After that my mind was set. Then the pride kicked in.”

Conditt became a gym rat. He grew from 6-7 to 6-10. And now, out of nowhere, Conditt has become a bonafide Division I prospect and jumped into the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in the Class of 2018.

Chicago State, Western Illinois, Miami-Ohio, UTEP and Northern Arizona have offered, says the engaging and insightful Conditt. He is planning on taking an unofficial visit to Purdue on Wednesday.

The physical attributes are striking when you consider virtually no one knew of Conditt six months ago. Extremely long and agile when running the floor, Conditt poses problems with his wingspan and quickness.

Conditt handles the ball comfortably, shows nice touch around the basket and can face up with range out to the three-point line.

Now it’s a matter of game experience, catching up to the speed of the game when the talent level rises and figuring out just how good he can be. The proverbial ceiling is enormous as it’s not too far-fetched to believe Conditt will end up near the top this Class of 2018.

No, it’s not Anthony Davis, Part II. Easy with that talk. But it’s a terrific story, nonetheless.

Conditt began his high school career at Crete-Monee, where he sat on the bench during his freshman year. He moved to Chicago and has attended Corliss for the past two years.

This past season he averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds a game for a Corliss team that played in the Public League’s Blue Division.

What also impresses you about Conditt is his loyalty, which in today’s world of hopping and skipping from one AAU team to another is appreciated.

While other major players in the club basketball scene have tried to sway Conditt to join their teams, he’s remained loyal to Team RWA. He says he will remain true to Corliss and coach Harvey Jones as well.

“They took me in and worked with me when one else wanted to,” says Conditt of his high school and club coaches. “No one called me in the beginning. But they were there for me and had my best interests.

“Then all of a sudden after the first couple events in the spring I was getting all these calls to come play for this team and that team. But I didn’t care about the big name, the gym shoes or the book bags. That’s not what I care about. Loyalty means something to me.”

Conditt is ready, however, to be seen and appreciated after being hidden for so long. The confidence has clearly taken a big step forward.

“My goal is for everyone in the nation to know my name,” says Conditt.

Jones said the first time he saw Conditt he was unable to dunk –– even at 6-7 –– due to his lack of strength. But he’s watched Conditt work extremely hard and is ecstatic to see the work paying off.

“I know what hard work looks like, and he works hard every day,” says Jones, who has spent time coaching in both the Simeon and North Lawndale programs over the years. “He’s legitimately serious about getting better. He never had a chance to be seen, so this opportunity shows that hard work is paying off.”

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