Roy, Conroy Continue Unique Basketball Journey Together
“From that point on, I’d say he’s been one of my closest friends,” Roy said.
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Brandon Roy and Will Conroy have become close through the years—at times, a little too close.
Like the time the two were in Canada for Jamal Crawford’s summer charity tournament and Conroy, knowing his friend is claustrophobic, convinced Roy to take an elevator and after entering began jumping around. The elevator stalled. Conroy was trying to get Roy riled up, but ended up in a jam as well.
“I called down to the front office and asked to get some help,” Roy said, “but they said ‘you guys shouldn’t have been playing on there. We aren’t going to rush to get you off.’ So we were on there for 30 minutes. Eventually they called the fire dept and they helped us get it open; I never want to go through that again.”
These days, Roy looks back on moments like that with a grin. The two long-time friends—Roy and Conroy met each other in middle school—have been through a lot playing together at the high school, AAU and collegiate levels, and this week at Minnesota State University-Mankato they went through Timberwolves Training Camp in hopes of becoming Wolves teammates this winter.
It’s a connection that began as kids and remains as strong as ever today.
“It makes [Training Camp] a lot easier because we know each other,” Conroy said. “We hang out every day in Seattle.”
The two players grew up in the Seattle area and emerged on a basketball scene that had included future NBA players like Crawford and Jason Terry before them. Initially, Roy and Conroy were rivals, not friends.
They played against one another in their youths. Roy remembers Conroy playing for a rival team called the Wildcats wearing Penny Hardaway sneakers. The two remained rivals until Conroy transferred from Rainer Beach High School to Roy’s Garfield High School, where they made an instant connection on the varsity level.
When Conroy—who is a year older—walked on at the University of Washington, Roy said Conroy was a big reason he visited. Despite considering other schools like Arizona and Oregon, Roy chose the Huskies because, in large part, his long-time friend was already there.
“Will was like, ‘B, you told me to go here!’” Roy said. “So that made my decision easy.”
Since then, Roy has gone on to NBA success, All-Star Games, retirement and his subsequent un-retirement. Conroy has bounced around a couple NBA rosters as well as international teams. The two friends from the Northwest are finally wearing the same colors again in Minnesota—and the Timberwolves front office might have Conroy to thank for helping recruit Roy to Minneapolis.
Conroy, who had spent part of last season’s Training Camp in Minnesota, passed along rave reviews of coach Rick Adelman to his friend. Conroy called Roy a week into last year’s camp, and although the team ended up letting him go, the conversation was all about how much he liked the team, Adelman and the system.”
“Then he said he was going to come back to camp here, so I said ‘that helps the decision even more.’”
While Roy is expected to make the team’s final roster, Conroy’s chances are more tenuous. But this time around, Conroy has his longtime friend with him as he tries to make the team. He said that’s a big help.
“If he sees something that is a little weary, he looks at me and he knows what I’m thinking—I look at him,” Conroy said. “So it’s the same thing, and I can help him become more comfortable with the system and he can help me. Obviously the coaches have high hopes for him in this season and helping this team turn around.”
For Conroy, he understands he can’t control if the coaches decide to keep him for the regular season. He can only control how he performs on a day to day basis—the rest will fall into place.
“Maybe something sticks out and coaches think they’ll keep you around,” Conroy said about making it through training camp. “You’ve got to come here and not worry about the things you can’t worry about and let everything fall into place.”
Regardless of what happens in the preseason, you can bet that the pair have cemented their status as Seattle basketball figures—and that they’ll remain friends long after Training Camp is over.
“To be able to share all of those moments with Will—many of my basketball moments—is really cool,” Roy said.