Connor Vanover began his high school basketball career at Arkansas Baptist High, a small private school in Little Rock.
How challenging was it for the future Cal center?
“It definitely wasn’t (challenging)," he said. "My first two years of high school my biggest competition was my brother (Brandon) because we played on the same team.”
The team won Class 4A state titles in Vanover's sophomore and junior seasons, before he found his way to powerhouse Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada.
“We thought about it throughout my entire high school career. Little thoughts of what if I tried to go to a prep school? Would that be better?" Vanover said. "We dabbled at the thought but we never went through with it.”
Then, after playing at a summer tournament in Las Vegas before his senior year, Vanover was approached by a scout who asked him where he was playing his final year of high school. He suggested Vanover consider Findlay
Former Cal star Jorge Gutierrez spent a year there, but so did a variety of NBA players, including Tristan Thompson, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph, Anthony Bennett and Kelly Oubre.
The scout put Vanover and his parents in touch with reps from Findlay, which welcomed him.
“They knew who I was. They were really delighted," Connor said.
Among his new teammates was Bol Bol, the son of former Warriors player Manute Bol, who was enjoying a great freshman campaign at Oregon this year until he sustained a season-ending foot injury. Bol is projected as an NBA lottery pick this spring.
"He could have stayed (home) his senior year and won another state championship," said Connor's mother, Robyn Vanover, who played at Arkansas in the late 1980s. "It was more about development. He needed to play against harder competition.It was a huge benefit because Connor got to play against Bol every day in practice."
Vanover talks in the video above about his year with Bol Bol.