CANTON A Massena connection helped St. Lawrence University junior Brady Condlin make a quick adjustment to college basketball two years ago.
Condlin followed a former Massena teammate Garrett Sharlow, to SLU, and he was also already friends with SLU veteran Ralph Temgoua, who was Sharlows roommate and often visited Massena.
Officially I played (with Sharlow) for about half a year at Massena, Condlin said. But Id been playing on weekends and pickup (games) with him since I was three or four. When I came here on my recruiting trip I stayed with Garrett and Ralph, so it was a huge factor for me, coming here knowing that stepping in as a freshman I knew I was going to have the confidence and respect of two of my senior classmates, already, before even stepping on campus.
Condlin, who led the Saints last year with an average of 16.6 points, had one other edge from his high school background in Red Raider coach Tom Miller.
Miller makes at least one visit per year to every area college basketball program to watch practices, something that helps his own players be ready for the next level almost right away
Massenas great, SLU coach Chris Downs said. I personally think that Tom Miller is one of the top high school coaches in the state of New York. Hes a guy that is constantly learning and calling and getting video tapes and buying video tapes. His library is as extensive as anybodys. Hes a college coach doing it at a high school. When we get guys from there, they dont have to be sugar-coated with how hard they have to work. He prepares them so well for that.
My freshman year when I came here (Downs) ran a lot of the same sets, Condlin said. Coach Miller was hard on us. Coach Downs has said to me he loves the guys who played for coach Miller, because he runs his program so much like a college environment.
Condlin, who played mostly shooting guard, was fairly successful in his first season at SLU, appearing in 25 games and making five starts. He had a double-double against SUNY Brockport, with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Last year he emerged as more of a key player, starting in 18 games. He ranked second on the team in 3-point shots with 29 and averaged 5.5 rebounds.
Im much more relaxed when I play, Condlin said. My shot has calmed down, a ton. When I first got here I had a lot of trouble with my balance on my jump shot. I worked on that all through my freshman year. This summer I worked a lot on my strength and feeling more comfortable in the post and finishing with my left hand. Its added a whole different dimension to my game that I didnt really have in high school. My main position now is forward and I like that a lot more than playing outside. Ive come to love it.
Although he led the Saints in scoring last year, Condlin is already seeing a change now that hes become an upperclassman.
One thing that you definitely start to realize is when things start to go bad it starts to come onto you, Condlin said. When things go bad in practice, more than anything its level and effort. Coach really harps on the older guys that we have to get it back where it has to be. You cant blame the freshmen or sophomores because they havent been through all the wars that we have already. I think this year we have a great freshman class. Whats even better with them is their work ethic and how they are flowing in the system. They understand what they need to do off the court just as much as what they need to do off the court. Thats going to be a big thing.
The Saints are coming off of a 9-16 season, including a 7-9 record in the Liberty League and were picked to finish fourth by the leagues coaches.
Im excited about this group, Downs said. Coming off last year I didnt think we were very good, but we added some pieces. Well probably play four freshmen in our top eight or nine, and thats a credit to my assistant (Greg Miller), he did a great job recruiting.