It seems unfathomable, really.

Bartlett’s Conrad Luczynski stands 7-foot-3, weighs 250 pounds and has continued to improve his game and athleticism over the past 18 to 24 months.

Even so, the talented center continued to wait this spring for the Division I scholarship offer he hoped would help him reach his goal.

“This kid wants to play in the NBA,” Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said.

With changes in the world, changes in the game and changes in recruiting, the college part of the equation just hasn’t happened for Luczynski.


His high school coach remains confident it will.

That’s because the 6-9 Wolfsmith, who refers to Luczynski as “The Polish Hammer,” knows full well the strong work ethic his player has developed since losing his sophomore season to the pandemic.

“I told him, ‘You’re looking to find a path for you,’” Wolfsmith said. “Conrad has leaned on a lot of people, from his parents to our coaching staff, and this spring he joined the Illinois Wolves run by Mike Mullins.

“It’s kind of brought everything in focus.”

This week, Luczynski decided his path will include going to a prep school — Link Year Prep in Branson, Missouri — for a nine-month postgraduate year that will allow him to develop his game, mind and body even further.

Luczynski won’t turn 18 until June.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people and it looks like a good fit,” Luczynski said. “The coach (Rodney Perry) there believes in me and likes my game. He thinks I can go as far as I dream of going.

“It just depends on how much work I put in, and that’s what I plan to do.”

He has done it before.

Luczynski said he reached 270 in the year he lost to the pandemic before getting back to work for the shortened season in Illinois as a junior.

“I just kept eating,” Luczynski said of the unwanted sabbatical.

He pared down for that shortened junior season, actually reaching 230, before putting some weight back on.

As a senior, he averaged 18.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.3 blocked shots and 3.3 assists and put up multiple triple-double games for the Hawks.

He was named third team all-state by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and second team all-state by the Champaign News-Gazette.

“I’ve been told it will give me more time for my body to mature and put on some more muscle,” Luczynski said of prep school. “No one even knows if I’m done growing.”

His dad, Bart, is 6-6 and his mother, Agnieszka, is 5-9.

It also will help him develop his overall game, especially with basketball’s emphasis now on players extending their range and big men being less inclined to remain planted close to the basket.

“I’ve dealt with coaches recruiting kids for Division I, II and III along with NAIA, but I’ve never had a player go the prep school route,” Wolfsmith said.

It’s why he was happy to see Luczynski join the Wolves.

“Mike runs a great program and looks out for his kids,” Wolfsmith said. “With so many kids already in college utilizing the NCAA transfer portal, I think you’re going to see more and more high school kids choose a prep school.

“Conrad looked at several. I told him it will allow him to ‘work on your game, work on your grades and work on your body.’”

Wolfsmith said Luczynski made great strides last season getting into better shape, which allowed him to move up and down the floor and seldom take a break unless the score became lopsided.

“I think a lot of people were surprised at how well he could move north and south,” Wolfsmith said. “I’m proud of all the work he’s put in. He’s one of the most coachable, unselfish and humble guys out there.”


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