There were a number of destinations where Conner George could have continued his basketball career.
The Okemos senior guard turned those down for a dream opportunity he never envisioned being possible.
George decided Saturday to accept an opportunity to join Tom Izzo and the Michigan State program as a preferred walk-on.
“There were a lot of good options out there,” said George, who was being recruited by Division II GLIAC schools like Grand Valley and Northwood and Division III programs.
“I made a lot of great relationships with other coaches along the way. When MSU popped in, it’s been a dream of mine to play there and wear green. When that option came about, it took some serious thinking. After thinking and talking it over with my family, we decided MSU was the best decision with what I wanted to do.”
George has followed the MSU program his entire life and has ties to the school with his mother Cathy George being the volleyball coach. But George’s basketball skills also caught the eye of Spartan assistant Dwayne Stephens, which got the process started for an opportunity as a walk-on.
“Dwayne and the assistant coaches saw me play and liked what they saw and talked to coach Izzo,” George said. “(Izzo) saw a little bit of me and he was nice enough to say he’d take me as a preferred walk-on.”
The 6-foot-3 George was one of the area’s top players this season and helped Okemos to a 13-9 record. He averaged 23 points and 10.6 rebounds during the regular season and ranked among the area’s leaders in both categories. George, who earned Class A all-state recognition from the Associated Press and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, also made 38 3s, shot 48 percent from the field and 83 percent from the charity stripe.
George grew a lot during his final season at Okemos and is looking forward to what he described as a “tremendous opportunity” being a part of Izzo’s program.
“A couple of years ago there’s no way I would put myself in the shoes I’m in right now,” George said. “It’s a lot of hard work and there’s going to be much more hard work coming up here right now now that college and MSU is on the way.”