To close out our basketball roster previews, let’s take a look at Oklahoma transfer Brady Manek. The 6’9 big man from Sarrah, OK is entering his fifth season after having a very good career with the Sooners. As things stand now, he is averaging 10 points, five rebounds, and 0.8 assists for his college career.
When beginning to talk about what Manek’s strengths are, we have to talk about his shooting. He knocked down 37.4% of his three-pointers with the Sooners, which is exactly what Hubert Davis was looking for when putting together his 2021-22 roster. His ability to stretch the floor is truly impressive, and even more impressive is how quickly he gets his shot off. He is definitely a catch-and-shoot guy, but the ball leaves his hands extremely fast after the catch. He is going to be really dangerous if defenders give him any space on the perimeter, and I expect him to be one of the better shooters on this year’s roster by the time everything is said and done.
Another thing I noticed when watching film of Manek is how his game was at its best when he is involved in off-ball motion. We still don’t know what to 100% expect with Hubert Davis’ new system, but I can see Manek being used in a lot of ball screen action and both the top of the key and also maybe some under the basket a la Virginia Cavaliers. It’s also worth noting that Manek’s shooting ability isn’t limited to the perimeter: he hit a gorgeous fadeway jumper against Justin McKoy during Late Night, showcasing that he can indeed get it done on all three levels.
Scoring aside, scouting reports show that Manek is a capable defender. When it comes to his athleticism, he is decent, but I did notice that he isn’t very explosive. He can definitely play above the rim, but it seemed like a lot of what I saw from film is that he was ok settling for layups more often than not. Maybe we have been spoiled in that department, but I will say this: It will not surprise me if Davis emphasizes finishing strong at the rim.
As far as Manek’s weaknesses go, we already alluded to a couple of them. He isn’t a guy that is great at creating his own shot, but he has shown flashes of being able to do so (the fadeaway jumper I mentioned is a good example). His athleticism is also not on par with the likes of Armando Bacot, so he will definitely be more of a finesse big than someone that will bang around in the paint and dunk on defenders. As far as rebounding goes, he is OK but could definitely be better. Hubert Davis has almost certainly been challenging him in practice one would have to imagine, but with the new way the Heels are going to play, it may not be as big of an emphasis for Manek if he is playing at the four. Finally, he struggles a bit guarding quicker players, so it will be interesting to see if that becomes a big issue during the season, or if it won’t be that big of a deal considering the size of the players he will be guarding on a nightly basis. It could mean that switching on ball screens with him may be a little risky, but we shall see.
Overall, Manek’s role on the team should be pretty straight forward: he is a versatile, sharpshooting big that should be able to keep the lane nice and clean for the guards to get to the rim. As I said earlier, leaving him open on the perimeter is a big mistake, and teams will pay dearly if they do so. I’m excited to see how Manek will do this season, and it wouldn’t surprise me if his name comes up in all-ACC conversations when March rolls around.
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