Friday, April 6, 2012

Evan Manning to join KU as walk-on

Free State senior guard Evan Manning hooks a reverse layup around Shawnee Mission West junior forward Mitch Witter (40) and junior forward Nick Thayer during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 at Free State.

Free State senior guard Evan Manning hooks a reverse layup around Shawnee Mission West junior forward Mitch Witter (40) and junior forward Nick Thayer during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 at Free State.


Former Free State High guard Evan Manning — the son of former Kansas University All-American Danny Manning — will play basketball at his dad’s alma mater.

Evan Manning, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior combo guard who averaged just under 10 points a game this past season at New Hampton School in New Hampshire, on Thursday night accepted coach Bill Self’s invitation to join KU’s team as a walk-on.

“It is a dream come true. It is such a unique opportunity. It’ll be cool to wear Kansas across my chest. It’s unbelievable,” Manning told the Journal-World on Thursday night.

Manning, who was offered this non-scholarship spot several weeks ago, most recently had the opportunity to walk on at Tulsa University and play for his father, who worked on Self’s staff the past nine seasons.

“My dad is my No. 1 supporter,” Evan Manning said. “He’d love for me to play for him at Tulsa, but realizes how cool it is and what a great opportunity it is for me to play at Kansas. It’s always been a dream of mine to play for KU and coach Self and be in Lawrence — to play in Allen Fieldhouse. It’d be awesome if my dad was still here, but I’m the biggest Tulsa fan out there right now. He (Danny) will do big things there.”

Manning’s sister, Taylor, is a junior-to-be at KU. She was a walk-on on the volleyball team this past season.

As a part-time starter for 26-9 New Hampton, Evan Manning averaged about nine points and six assists a game. His playing time was reduced when a standout guard returned from injury.

“He’s an incredible kid, very mature, one of the best teammates we’ve had at New Hampton since I’ve been part of the program (nine years),” New Hampton coach Peter Hutchins said. “He understands basketball and how to lead and comes prepared to work every day.”

Manning received the “Coaches’ Award” at the team’s postseason awards ceremony.

“It’s going to be a challenge. It’s something I look forward to, to embrace my role as practice player,” Manning said. “I know the role I’m going into and what I need to do to help the team win basically. Tough times are ahead, but fun times. I’d say I need to work on my strength and ballhandling, everything really. I’ll do what it takes to improve in all areas.”

Norm to return?: Florida assistant coach Norm Roberts, who worked as an assistant for Bill Self during the 2003-04 season before becoming St. John’s head coach, may be returning next season as a replacement for Danny Manning. A source close to said Roberts is mulling an offer to join the KU staff. Sources told the Journal-World Roberts has been at the top of Self’s wish list since the vacancy opened. Roberts, whose son Niko is a sophomore on the KU team, assisted Self at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois and KU. Self has a policy of not commenting about job openings.

Self on where Thomas Robinson figures to fall in this year’s NBA Draft: “He’s going to go, I would hope, low end, go in the top five, six,” Self said.

As to when the 6-10 junior will announce ... “We haven’t had that talk yet, but to be honest with you, that’s something for him to tell people and make an announcement about it,” Self said. “I’m not going to in any way, shape or form encourage him to stay. I’m not going to let fans know that there is a possibility he might. If he does, he does, but that would be a shock to me. But the thing is, he’s earned the right to move on. This kid finished second for national player of the year, consensus All-American, he’s going to get his jersey hung, won the league, took his team to the finals. And in the finals, everybody talks about Anthony Davis, who was great. Thomas had 18 and 17. Missed two dunks, had 18 and 17. He’s a stud, and it’s time. So many of us have said or believed you’ve got to strike while the iron’s hot. Iron’s hot for him.

“We’ll see what happens, but it needs to be his decision and his way of expressing it to a group of people that would I’m sure be very, very happy for him either way.”

KU’s basketball banquet, which conceivably could be that forum, is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Holidome. It is sold out.


Bob Forer 10 years, 6 months ago

Welcome aboard, Evan. I know you will make a fine Jayhawk.

RISEABOVEHATE56 10 years, 6 months ago

I wouldn't really say he is a walk on just yet. There is still a chance that Evan Manning might bolt the Kansas Jayhawks and play for his dad at Tulsa

Just remember. Evan Manning can always change his mind. and i seen it in the past with Xaiver Henry and Josh Selby.

Xaiver Henry was planning on playing for Kentucky the same way with Josh Selby. That was till Tubby Smith was fired.

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago

Should we start a new designation for walk-ons that don't have to try out?

I nominate "no-try-outs," which will be shortened to NTOs.

Or "coaches-in-training," aka CITs. :-)

jayxmen 10 years, 6 months ago

This already exists. Its called a Preferred Walk-on.

okiedave 10 years, 6 months ago

Obviously NTO Evan is a favor to Danny, which I have no problem with, however, why don't we also recruit the kid that started in front of Evan?

JD Roth 10 years, 6 months ago

Bring Semi Ojeleye to KU and he'll rewrite the career scoring mark of Danny Manning. Ojeleye for 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dynamitehawk 10 years, 6 months ago

if you can't get excited fantasizing about the likely epic James Fraschilla vs Evan Manning battles then you just don't enjoy the last two minutes of basketball games.

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago

Does KU now have its next two head coaches after Self lined up? :-)

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I'll bet the only reason Self ever hired Danny Manning in the first place was to eventually get this kid to play for him!!!

Smart, smart man.

(all in fun! much love to Danny!!)

nevansw 10 years, 6 months ago

Actually, I think this is all part of Larry Brown's master plan in offering Ed Manning a job and Danny Manning a scholarship. Now it has come to fruition and Evan Manning will play at KU.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

It COULD be that Dr. Naismith invented the game for this very reason......

KGphoto 10 years, 6 months ago

Has there ever been a high school with a better name than Free State?

Tony Bandle 10 years, 6 months ago

I'd vote for Free Love High, but Free Lunch High would be good too. Others would include Free Pass, Free Fall, I. B. Free, Free At Last, Free as a Bird, I Just Want to be Free [a Chicago High School] and Free with Another Full Purchase High.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

i think there's one in Kentucky called Buy One Get One Free....

HawkKlaw 10 years, 6 months ago

Nope! We're pretty proud of our heritage of fighting against slavery in Lawrence.

nwhawkfan 10 years, 6 months ago

Not 'til they name one after World B. Free...

Cole Hogan 10 years, 6 months ago

Is it just me? or does it seem like Self is not entirely dening that Thomas might Stay? I dont know, obviously, everyonethinks he should go, but it just seems like Self is maybe trying to allude to something...

Tony Bandle 10 years, 6 months ago

Sorry...not if to go, just when to announce he's gone.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 6 months ago

That Bill Self...he's a genius!!!!!!

First time in NCAA history whereby a player [Niko Roberts] was used to help recruit a coach [Norm Roberts} :)

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago

jaybate news service (jns):

Dateline: Lawrence, KS and Gainesville, FL

Slug: Wives double down on hopelessly out-matched husbands; Norm Roberts situation still fluid.

Item: jaybate news service stringers report that Bill Self has offered Mother Roberts Barry Hinson's former position, if Norm will come back to KU. Stringers say Mother Roberts quickly gave Norm the matrimonial ultimatum: KU or unrelenting loneliness. But then a wrench was thrown in the works. Billy Donovan counter offered to make Mother Roberts assistant head coach in charge of Norm, if Norm will stay at Florida. Mother Roberts of course withdrew her ultimatum and is said currently to be weighing her options contingent on a final counter by Self.

Update: jns stringers that have sneaked inside the Self house within the last hour disguised as Eames lounge chair ottomans and report that Self has counter offered through Niko to make Mother Roberts either Vice Chancellor, or Assistant Attorney General.

Update: As if all the above weren't startling enough, still another team of jns stringers has reportedly reached a large closet in the Self's master bedroom and reports overhearing Cin talking to Mother Roberts on her cell phone saying, "We've got them both now, exactly where we want them. Next move is we bring them together on the condition that they sign over their halves of each of our estates to the "Women Are Smarter than Men Foundation," which we control the board of directors of...then they are ours forever!"

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

One more year, TRob. One more year! The NBA can wait...

I know...Selfish. But hey, some guys want a title more than money.

gchawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Welcome Evan, happy to be continuing the Manning name at KU. Just out of curiosity, why did Evan leave Free State and go to New Hampton? Norm, we'd love to have you back.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 6 months ago

What's a little disturbing about the picture above is the basket is actually still about five feet above the top of the ball!!

WilburNether 10 years, 6 months ago

I think Robinson will and should enter the draft, for the practical reason that he had a great year, and might actually slip in draft position if he stays. (See Sullinger, Jared.)

However, he has some weaknesses:

1) He showed in the Purdue game that he cannot defend on the perimeter. He wasn't called on to do that very much in college, but he'll have to do it all the time in the NBA.

2) I'd like to see a comprehensive shot chart of his from the second game on in the NCAA Tournament, and count the misses from within three feet of the basket -- against defenders and defenses that are not nearly as good as he'll see in the NBA.

3) He is still VERY slow at sensing, recognizing, and reacting to a double-team, and making the right pass out of it. (See Aldrich, Cole.) That may not be as much of a problem in the NBA, where he won't be double-teamed very often. (See Aldrich, Cole.)

The fanbois think that because he's one of ours, he's perfect, and no one should dare to say otherwise. The fact is that his game does have flaws. But given that idiot NBA general managers draft not on performance, but potential, Robinson will be a lottery pick, and should not take the risk of seeing his draft stock drop if he stays.

Alohahawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Your point #1 is true, but #2 and #3 are debatable. >#2 - He missed a lot of bunnies the entire season, primarily due to his being double teamed and the focus of opponent's defenses. It actually should open up for TRob in the NBA, because he shouldn't have to contend with the number of double teams he saw all this past season. >#3 was a flaw somewhat due to Self's first law: To feed the postman so he could score. And with the lack of KU's efficiency shooting 3's, may have attributed to TRob's decisions to force shots. If TRob knew, with a certainty, that the 3 was an almost automatic, would he have forced so many shots, or would he have passed to the perimeter? >Point #1, TRob's defensive abilities. Yes, he did show that he needs to get better, defensively, away from the basket. He's going to have to move his feet better. However, players are so fast in the NBA, even the quickest defenders get blown by on a regular basis. It's mostly help defense, if at all. And anyway, when has defense been a strong point in the NBA, at least during the regular season? One other thing must be kept in mind.TRob's presence on the floor was a must for KU this past season. There were times when he could have played tougher 'D', but instead, backed off rather than hacking or taking a charge. I'm assuming Self instructed TRob to play the safer route early in games, to keep his fouls low. After all, I believe he only fouled out of one or two games.

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago

Nether, Wilbur,

utscored and outrebounded Anthony Davis on the one hand, and Terrence Jones on the other.

If you are worried about Thomas missing a few bunnies around the basket in a hotly contested aerial dog fight, you should really be worried about Anthony Davis. He went 1-10? That's a whole lot of bunnies. And while Jeff Withey is pretty darned good, he is not exactly Dwight Howard yet.

Next, regarding shot blocking, which is not Thomas' long suit, in the L, most of the shot blocking is done by the super post men. Everyone is so long and strong in the NBA that all of this 6-7 per game Wade-Withey style anti-ballistic-missile-style, Scud-swatting stuff just does not happen much. You play defense, you make hard contact, and you drive jack-in-the-box style shot blockers ten feet sideways. I haven't watched much NBA this year, but I don't recall guys coming across the lane and flying through the air 10-15 feet beyond the other side of the lane and smashing balls back in the faces of offenders. The wings--especially the Lebrons--are just to fast and strong to cut off from the other side of the lane, and of course the NBA lane width is greater than a college lane, so they have to go farther.

Frankly, I think Thomas will find the NBA kind of breather in a lot of ways. Each individual match up will be vastly tougher than in college, but he's not going to have to contend with any triple or double teaming, because he's not that great offensively, so he's going to have way more energy to expends on defense.

Thomas will have the same kinds of problems all young power forwards coming to the NBA have. They suddenly have to play with guys as strong, or stronger than them, and they can't always force the ball in the hole, as they did in college against all by lottery picks like Davis and Jones. Notice how much trouble Marcus Morris is having adapting to the NBA? Its tough up there. Keef is faring better only because he's got a trey gun and that means he gets to stand out and stretch defenses, rather than have to stay inside all the time and do heavy lifting.

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago

Note: that top graph was supposed to start out "Thomas Ronbinson outscored and out rebounded...

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago

Again, I suspect Thomas will do much better on defense, when all he is asked to do is defend and rebound. Scoring is a lot of work, particularly when you've got to carry two or three skin-head bangers on your back all game long.

Further, in the NBA, if anyone other than a full blown star pulls the physical crap that was done to him this season, he will be allowed to take them completely out of the game, or his teammates will be allowed to. The NBA is very, very rough. But you don't see two or three players giving a guy a gang bang forearm facial, unless that guy playing outside the etiquette of the league. If you can't hold your ground, and you won't get out of the way, then your wise old NBA veteran will make you pay dearly at the pain meter. But you really don't see all the gang cheap shotting of players in the NBA that you do in college ball right now.

Every team needs rebounding power forwards, especially coming off the bench while a star power forward takes a blow. They prefer they could shoot from three, but it is not essential.

I don't think he will be a super star, but I think he will play a solid substitute role, if he is truly tall enough to play the 4.

And Thomas could definitely put on some more weight from the sternum down, if he had to.

Frankly, I thought TRob did a good defensive job chasing everything from centers to forwards to guards this season.

I suspect Thomas will do better than Cole, or Marcus, at the next level, if he really is any where near the height he is listed at.

The more inches below 6-10 he is, the more troubles he will have at the next level.

Thomas has one great advantage over Cole as a rebounder in the L. Thomas is strong enough to clamp down on the ball even against the biggest guys in the NBA.

bate, jay

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago

P.S.: The reason he ought to go pro now, regardless of whether you are right, or I am, is to feed, cloth and house his sis.

kellerman411 10 years, 6 months ago

Holy crap, let's hope Norm Roberts is a better assistant than he is a head coach. He finished his 6th year at St. Johns at 105 - 185 and made 1 NIT tournament where he was bounced the first round.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 6 months ago

I would say his record of 197 wins an just 67 losses as Bill Self's assistant at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois and 1st year at KU would prove that he is indeed a great assistant. Head coaching is a different animal.

Spencer Goff 10 years, 6 months ago

I need to go back and check on who were the most successful recruiting assistant coaches. Seems to me that Norm was one of them, but my memory on recruiting gets crappy and I refuse to pay Rivals money.

Somebody with a fresher memory rattle off some names he brought in....

I know they're out there somewhere....

10 years, 6 months ago

“Roberts…is known as a stellar recruiter, helping KU land New York Rice High point guard Russell Robinson and Illinois net Bronx native Charlie Villanueva, who switched his allegiance to UConn after Roberts and Self moved to KU.”

Martin Shupert 10 years, 6 months ago

I have totally mixed feelings about this. Who doesn't love Danny? Still, is this kid taking the place of some one with more talent without his father's name greasing the skids? If so, it's a heartbreaker for at least one young man out there. This isn't England. Blood lines should not be honored. One should have to make the team based on his level of play. I'm not assuming the kid would not make it on his own though... so yeah, mixed feelings... mostly because I have seldom seen him play.

jakejayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Anyone notice that Jerod Hasse has become a head coach? I didn't see it mentioned on this site but found it at ESPN. Another Jayhawk head coach! He is now at UAB.

Alohahawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Although that list isn't set in stone, and would depend on a specific team's needs, it is probably somewhat accurate. Note: There is a recent article on which states A. Davis is the only 'prize' in this year's draft, and that everyone else will end up primarily as role players. Perhaps, but I think there are at least 3 - 4 who have a good chance to make a name for themselves. With a little luck and the right team, TRob could become another rebounding phenom, in the mold of a Dennis Rodman. Of interest on the projections: Kenstinky would be at the #1 & #3 picks - Total of four in the 1st round, plus one (Miller) in the 2nd round. N. Carolina also gets four in the 1st round. TRob is projected @ #2, with Withey @ #44, and TT @ #57. While TT might not make the 1st round, #57 seems really low. Others of interest: Only four seniors are listed as 1st rounders. Only one Int'l player, @ #42. The NBA seems a little shy of the non-collegian players this go-round. Sullinger, who was a projected lottery pick last year, drops to #15. The Sullinger drop would indicate the need for TRob to head to the NBA while the iron is hot. There are too many possibilties that could go wrong, including injury.

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago


Withey straight jackets Davis to 1-10 from the field, raises heck with him, while TRob out rebounds him back side 18 reebs to 17 reebs, and Jeff stays close to Jones back side in rebounding and Davis is the only prize of the draft?

The only reason UK won was Kidd-Gillchrist and Lamb were too much for EJ and Travis to handle.

What's more, I would rather have Jones long term, than Davis, though I think Davis is a very good player.

And if Jeff Withey can load on 40 pounds of muscle the next three years, and still block shots, I would rather have Jeff than all of them.

But if I have to go to war now, give me TRob. TRob outscored and out rebounded Davis on one of TRob's bad nights. If Thomas' focus had been right, we would be talking now about a Danny Manning kind of final's game. TRob missed enough bunnies alone to be at 26-28 points. Had he made those bunnies, the game would have been close for most of the second half, and then Davis would have had to start playing tight defense and TRob would have fouled him out for sure. Then TRob would have gone on a rampage and wound up 30 plus. That was clearly how Self intended for the game to go.

I realize that because Davis, Jones and Kidd-Gillchrist got bouncey as jack rabbits on meth the first half, everyone thinks Davis and Jones are the better bigs, but the numbers don't lie. We were closing on them. As Self said, we didn't lose, we ran out of time.

I know Davis is good, and only a freshman, but we did not lose to Kentucky in the paint. We lost to Kentucky on the wings.

Davis and Jones are lottery picks. But so are TRob and Jeff. Jeff may have to wait till next year to be a lottery pick, because he hasn't had the hype, but Jeff Withey at 250-260 will be the kind of center a team with a super star on the perimeter needs, whether Jeff is just a quiet Luc Longley type, or whether he becomes an offensive force.

Know I'm way in the minority with this POV, but that's how I see it.

Martin Shupert 10 years, 6 months ago

Sullinger was exposed by KU as a guy who had trouble passing out of a double team or showing any moves against a taller guy... and there are a lot of taller guys with quicker feet than Withey (which is NOT a put down for Withey by any means).

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 6 months ago

I too have to give pause for this blood line deal in with these walk ons. If Self really wants to get true practice players then there is no DOUBT others are better.

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