Vanover's busy spring and summer comes to an end

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Connor Vanover (left) of Baptist Prep scores over Ethan Bowman of Ozark Saturday, Feb. 26, 2016, during the second half of play in the championship game of the 4A North Regional Tournament in Tiger Arena in Prairie Grove.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Connor Vanover (left) of Baptist Prep scores over Ethan Bowman of Ozark Saturday, Feb. 26, 2016, during the second half of play in the championship game of the 4A North Regional Tournament in Tiger Arena in Prairie Grove.

— As he has been the last few years, Baptist Prep junior center Connor Vanover was the most noticeable player at Monday’s Arkansas Elite Basketball Camp.

Such is life when you are a 7-foot-3, 220-pound prospect that towers over most of the other campers.

Vanover is coming off a spring and early summer in which he played for the Arkansas Wings’ 17-and-under team and then finished up with Team Texas’ 16-and-under program.

“The summer went good,” Vanover said. “I switched to Team Texas in July. I just wanted a team that could really use me better just for that last month.

“Obviously I can come back to the Wings for next season.”

Vanover got his four offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt during the summer of 2015.

“I have got the same teams that have offered,” Vanover said. “No new offers, but a lot of new interest. I am still just trying to see how what else comes up and how things come open.”

Vanover, who averaged 14.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocker per game while leading his team to the Class 4A state championship last season, has gone from 180-pound freshman to a 220-pound junior.

“I am doing strength training and that has really helped,” Vanover said. “I have a trainer that I work with about four times a week.”

Vanover – still more of a perimeter force than an inside one in AAU action - feels like he improved this summer.

“I am shooting the ball a lot better,” Vanover said. “Also I think I am getting stronger, but still improving on that and I think I am running the floor a lot better.”

He is looking forward to getting a break for a few weeks after playing nearly non-stop since last November.

“Definitely,” Vanover said. “I need some rest.”

Baptist Prep won the Class 4A title with a 61-54 win over Malvern in Hot Springs and Vanover was named the MVP of the tournament.

He is one of three starters back from that squad, including promising sophomore guard Issac McBride.

“We have me, Issac and one other kid who is going to be a senior this year – Dylan Hogan,” Vanover said. “He played very good minutes last season. Sometimes he started, sometimes he came off the bench. We do have some more posts this season and some senior guards.”

“We should have a really good team.”

Vanover teamed with his older brother Brandon – one of his 7-1 twin siblings - inside last year, but the older Vanover has moved on to UCA to play his college basketball.

“It will be a little different, but nothing that I can’t handle,” Vanover said. “It was great winning the state championship with him his last season.

Vanover’s mother Robyn Irwin Vanover played for the Lady Razorbacks and he has uncles that played football at Arkansas and Colorado.

He has been a frequent visitor to Razorback basketball games and plans to be again this season.

“I still think they are doing really good with what they are doing,” Vanover said. “…I am anxious to come up here for a football game and a basketball game and see what they are doing more.”

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