Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State men's basketball: George Conditt approaching game with new mindset

Center has struggled since move to starting lineup

Texas forward Jericho Sims, right, dunks the ball over Iowa State forward George Conditt, IV, left, during the first hal
Texas forward Jericho Sims, right, dunks the ball over Iowa State forward George Conditt, IV, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, February 1, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (Michael Thomas/Associated Press)

AMES — Iowa State sophomore George Conditt texted Coach Steve Prohm on Saturday night with an apology.

Conditt said he hadn’t been playing up to his potential and he didn’t feel like he was giving the team his all.

Prohm appreciated the personal accountability from his young center.

Conditt was inserted into the starting lineup on Jan. 12 against Oklahoma because of his effort, ability to run the floor and his skill blocking shots. Ever since, his production and minutes have taken a dip.

Conditt is averaging just 3.9 points in 13.4 minutes. He has just one block in the seven games since he became a starter.

Before the Oklahoma game, he was averaging 10 points and 2.7 blocks in 19 minutes.

“He just hasn’t been as good as he was a couple weeks ago,” Prohm said. “Why that is, I don’t know. We have to get him back to how he’s capable of playing because we need his size, we need his length, we need his protection around the basket and we need his energy. Hopefully that switch can flip back.”

Iowa State needs Conditt to get back on track before the Cyclones (9-12, 2-6 Big 12) travel to Morgantown, W.Va., to play No. 13 West Virginia (17-4, 5-3) at 6 p.m. (CT) Wednesday (ESPN2).

“I had a bad mindset,” Conditt said. “I’m looking at things differently.”

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When Iowa State got back from Saturday’s 72-68 loss to Texas — a game Conditt played just five minutes — Conditt called his dad, George Conditt III, who played football at Iowa State and knows what it takes to be a high-level Division I athlete.

“I sat down and got on the phone with my dad and we talked and talked and talked,” Conditt said. “He listened and told me what I needed to do.”

So, what did the elder Conditt tell his son?

“He said to start over,” the younger Conditt said. “He said, ‘Start your mindset over. You came into this season with a goal and you know what you wanted. Early on, you were competing to get that goal and these last few games, you haven’t. You need to get back to it.’”

After the phone call, he set up a one-on-one workout with assistant coach James Kane for Sunday morning.

The reduced minutes aren’t all on Conditt, however. Solomon Young, who Conditt replaced in the starting lineup, has stepped up his game.

Young had a career game against Oklahoma State with 27 points and nine rebounds.

“Solomon has been playing great lately,” Conditt said. “When he had 27, I can’t be mad. The man had 27 points and we won the game. I can’t be mad if he’s playing good.”

But Conditt, like any competitor, wants to be a key contributor again — starting Wednesday against West Virginia.

West Virginia is a physical team, something Conditt is ready to embrace.

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“If we thought Baylor was a tough team then we have a heck of a week this week,” Conditt said. “We have to challenge ourselves — not just me, but the whole team. We have to pick it up a notch.

“I’m going to do whatever I have to do to help my team.”

That started in practice.

“We need to be playing our best basketball right now and for some reason, we’re not,” Conditt said. “That’s why it’s going to be a very hard and intense practice (Monday). I don’t care if they want to slow practice down. I’m picking it up.

“Solomon is in trouble today.”

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