Charlie Connor’s comeback
Charlie Connert the end of their high school careers, many high school athletes think that their dream is over, but Charlie Conner thought differently.
Conner plays guard for the SAIT men’s basketball team and is in the business administration program. This is his first year at SAIT, and he is back in the basketball spotlight after taking a brief hiatus.
Despite being away from the sport for a period of time, he still remained a dominant player, scoring 54 points in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship last month.
Conner’s beginnings were as humble as anyone else’s. In his small hometown of Lacey, Washington, he had a great family who supported his every move.
His interest in basketball started at a young age. The first substantial motivation to the game for Conner was his father, who played basketball.
His father encouraged him to play every sport, but Conner stuck to the court.
Conner’s first professional influence was legendary point guard / shooting guard Allen Iverson, because of Iverson’s small size.
“I knew I was going to grow, but I always thought if he could do it, I could do it,” Conner said.
Conner praises how supportive and motivating his family was during his games, saying that they would come to every game.
“They were always there, and it was nice to have them there,” said Conner.
After playing all three years of high school basketball, Conner wasn’t sure if he wanted to further continue his career.
Although some colleges had interest in him, he made the final choice to step out of the court.
Conner sat out for three years, bartending at a movie theatre and only playing basketball at local gyms to kill time.
Conner thought that was what he’d amount to, thinking that he’d be a legend in the local LA Fitness in Lacey.
However, his time in the sun was far from over, because SAIT coaches eventually gave Conner an opportunity to play competitive basketball again.
Conner said his transition from a small town in Washington to Calgary was shocking.
“It was a complete cultural change, especially as soon as I got here,” he said.
“People were telling me about ‘Timmies’ and I was like what is a ‘Timmies?’ I was so confused.”
Calgary’s frigid weather was the biggest thing he had to adjust to.
“Washington gets cold, but we rain, we don’t snow all the time,” said Conner.
Conner expressed how much Canadians fill the “always nice” stereotype to a tee.
Conner said he came to SAIT with the mindset of just doing his job and nothing more. However, he firmly believes that the loss of two key players, John Smith and Levi Taylor, created an opening that the coaches thought Conner was perfect for.
“We lost two 20 point scorers, so the roles changed for the people around,” said Conner.
“They [The coaches] gave me a little bit more of an opportunity to play a bigger role and try and help the team more.”
Conner is very happy that he came back to the sport, and very pleased he could play for SAIT.
“Coming up here, doing what I love to do, playing basketball, and I get to go to school too, that’s a win-win situation.
“It’s more than I could ask for. I’m blessed.”