Is Evan Manning the Best Scout Team Player in the Country?
The Kansas Jayhawks were without two key freshmen for Saturday’s contest against Texas Christian. Without Joel Embiid the Horned Frogs were able to attack the paint at will. Filling in for the injured Embiid, center Tarik Black found himself in quick foul trouble. TCU guard Kyan Anderson was able to catch fire with Kansas’ two rim protectors out of commission. Anderson had 21 first half points, 19 of his teams final 21 points in the first half. Kansas had a seven point lead going into halftime, but it was still anybody’s game.
Whatever Bill Self said to his Jayhawks in the locker room snapped the Jayhawks out of their first half funk. Kansas locked down Anderson in the second half, holding him to four more points. With its leading scorer out of commission, Kansas exploited the undermanned TCU squad. Perry Ellis was nearly perfect on the afternoon. He had 32 points shooting 13-15 from the field. He flirted with a triple-double with eight rebounds and five assists. He had a team-high in all three categories.
Self did not call off his dogs until the final two minutes of the game. Sophomore guard Evan Manning would carry the Jayhawks to a sure-handed victory. Manning has only played a grand total of seven minutes this season and his lone contribution in the stat column was a steal. Manning is the son of Kansas legend Danny Manning. Manning was a two-time All-American at Kansas and is arguably the best player to don a Kansas uniform. Manning will have to improve drastically to become a third generation NBA player, but Manning has indirectly topped his father in some semblances in his two years as a walk-on at Kansas.
As a walk-on, Manning’s sole responsibility is play hard in practice to make his teammates better. Manning has given his best effort daily at practice to better his teammates. The two players that Manning has had to square off against in practice the last two seasons are Ben McLemore and Andrew Wiggins. McLemore would go on to break Manning’s father’s freshman record 14.6 points per game and Wiggins is currently on pace to surpass the record.
Manning may not have 31 points, 18 rebounds, five steals and two blocks like his father had in the 1988 NCAA championship game. His contributions may go unnoticed by the common fan, but Kansas could be cutting down the nets again thanks to contributions from a member of the Manning family.