Prep Basketball: Garrard County's Devin Conley likes her role
Garrard County junior point guard Devin Conley (21) feels she has become a more complete player and enjoys having more expected of her this season. (Clay Jackson / February 4, 2013)
“I know point guards are asked a lot and coaches are alway talking to me and they’re wanting to know what I’m wanting to do with my future, so that even puts a little more on me,” said Conley, a junior guard. “But you’ve got to buy into the coach or you’re not going to get anywhere.”
While she is counted on to perform, she has delivered for the Golden Lions. Conley is averaging a team-high 16.5 points per game and leads the team in assists (57) and steals (31) while pulling down 3.4 rebounds per game and shooting 35 percent from 3-point range (34 of 98).
While she is putting up impressive numbers, coach Scott Bolin said what makes Conley so good is that the game seems easier for her this year.
“It’s not as much about skill-wise or shooting. The biggest thing for her is that the game has slowed down. It’s like a real good hitter in baseball when the baseball slows down as far as your visuals, you hit it better,” Bolin said. “So for her, the game has really slowed down. She understands ball screens better, how to handle them. She understands when she gets doubled (what to do), she understands how to get open, all that kind of stuff.
“She might shoot it a little better now. She’s gotten a little bit bigger and stronger, but for the most part it’s just slowed down for her and you can tell that.”
Conley said she has been able to expand her game and get better because she has gotten stronger.
“I knew I needed to get stronger, and I feel like that helped me a lot,” she said. “I worked out all summer on my shot. So I feel this season has improved over last, and I’m hoping next season I will have improved more, too.
“I have a lot more confidence in myself going into the paint. You see somebody bigger than you, and you automatically think, ‘I don’t need to do that.’ But now I have the strength to go in there, my head’s better about it. I used tot start out the game with long jump shots, but now I’ve started out getting my flow going form the block and work my way out.”
Bolin called Conley a “gym rat,” and sets th example of how to work for teammates.
“She really loves the game, works hard at it. She works hard at her individual game, which makes her better. We ask her to do a lot, and she steps up and does everything we’ve asked for. Never ever, ever have I heard her say something back. Say, ‘Coach, it’s too much,’ or any of that stuff. It’s yes sir, no sir and she goes back to work. That’s a dream for a coach.”
Conley agreed that she does live in the gym. She gave up softball to focus strictly on basketball.
“I just stay in the gym,” she said. “So I just keep doing what I’m doing and try to learn stuff from other people and my AAU team (Kentucky Premier). I go to their camps and get new drills from there.”
Conley is in the early stages of college recruiting. So far, she has talked with Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
“I’m just communicating with them and learning their styles of play,” said Conley. “I’m really excited about that (recruiting). It moves me to do better and talking to these people and knowing they’re coming to watch me.”