By Joe Henricksen
The Hoops Report hinted at a Brian Conway to Northern Iowa match in the Aug. 13 blog and the athletic Bloom star is indeed headed to play for the Missouri Valley Conference school. The 6-3 wing gave a commitment to coach Ben Jacobson and the Panthers.
Conway will upgrade the area Northern Iowa definitely needs an upgrade in - athleticism. This is a player that will wow the folks in Cedar Falls with his pure physical attributes. He can run up and down the floor with the best of them, finish in transition and gives the Panthers the long, athletic player on the wing that the program seems to lack. He's bouncy, active and, in time and with more understanding, can develop into a disruptive defensive force with the length, quickness and athleticism he brings to the table.
While he still has plenty of room for improvement with his overall skill package, from his shooting to his ballhandling, Conway has made big strides in the past 12-18 months in those areas. His shot and handle have both improved. And with continued improvement in those areas and with his decision making with the basketball, Conway could be a real force down the road. Conway played for Mike Mullins and the Illinois Wolves, which is the same AAU program that Northern Iowa tapped into last year, landing talented Jacobs point guard John Moran.
Northern Iowa is just another Missouri Valley school - joining Illinois State, Bradley, Southern Illinois and Indiana State - that is hitting the Chicago area hard in recruiting. Jon Montgomery of Lincoln Park will be a sophomore guard this year, while Moran will be a freshman point guard this season. This trend of targeting the Chicago area and the state of Illinois will continue as assistant coach Kyle Green, the current recruiting coordinator for Northern Iowa, has strong ties in recruiting the state of Illinois. Green was an assistant coach at Marquette (2003-2004) and head coach at Lewis University in Romeoville for two seasons.