Chapel Hill, NC – If you’re trying to explain Brady Mannick’s importance to North Carolina beyond 13.7 points per game, a 48 percent shooting percentage and a 38.7 mark from a three-point range, there are two plays to highlight from 70-63 to lead the UN win over Louisville on Monday.
The score held steady at 62-60, with the Tar Heels holding that tight advantage for about two and a half minutes. UNC brought together multiple ugly offensive possessions. Then the Alumni move-out from Oklahoma scored his first field goal in about 15 minutes.
He drove to his left with a defender in the shade, then pulled and hit the vanishing 15 feet for points 16 and 17 of the night.
Two minutes later, while UNC stalled again with some missed hits, Manek cut the baseline, received a pass from RJ Davis, and then demonstrated his facilitation skills with a superb pass under the basket to Armando Bacot for a powerful two-handed pass.
In addition to the two extended games, he scored nine points in the first seven minutes two days after scoring 10 of the team’s first 13 points at Blacksburg.
“I’m sure with an exploratory report on everyone, he says don’t leave Brady but he somehow finds a way to be open,” Hubert Davis said after the win. “But, you know, another thing for Brady is that he can score in the basket. There are some guys who can shoot when they’re wide open, but they struggle when defenders are near him, and Brady isn’t. He can hit shots in dispute. And so if you put Younger guy on it, he can spread it. If you put a bigger guy on him, he can shoot triples, then the last basket, where he put the ball on the floor was the baseline jump. He could even put the ball on the ground and hit a mid-range jump shot. That was a big play before Brady.”
Caleb Love said the dish for Baku gave the team the energy to finish off their 20th win this season.
“You brought us a lot of momentum,” said the second guard. “Just seeing that play and getting the fans in. It gave us some energy to stop at the defensive end. Plays like this show how much we care about each other and how ready we are to share the ball with each other. So it was a great spectacle.”
The 6-foot-9, 230-pound hybrid striker scored 17 game-wide in 6-of-12 shooting (3-9 3FG) with three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Both passes were in his position under the basket; A dunk in the last minutes and another great spin for Baku to throw the ball in the first half.
As the two big guys on this list it takes harmony, but the duo had it for what felt like 28 games longer.
It’s really good,” said Manek. “He found me on my first possession…I’ve found him a few times. He’s just a really fun player to play with. He takes up a lot of space. There’s a lot of focus on him. He helps everyone on the ground.
I have described it many times. I had a connection in Oklahoma with a friend I grew up with – Christian Doolittle. Same concept, you can run a play, anywhere. You have the same idea, you know where each other is. Like today, we found each other. It’s really, really good basketball and it’s (Bakut) really fun to play with.”
The offense of driving a motor vehicle often turns into a dysfunction when the guards begin to dodge a lot. This leads to poor shot attempts and turns more often than not, but when it gets positive it’s because of Manek’s talent for cutting the baseline and getting off the ball.
Manek said the message from Hubert Davis was to play hard and get your break points. That led to a 10-3 close match, and being the captain, Manek credited the entire team despite two of the biggest plays along his stretch.
This was his eighth consecutive game with double figures and his fifth consecutive game with at least one pass. He’s hit at least 50 per cent off the ground in three of the last four games. His three-pointers gave him 298 career points. For comparison, Marcus Paige holds the record for most three-pointers in a Tar Heel player’s career with 299 three-pointers.
It’s also the 20th iteration this season to record Maneke in double digits. UNC is 16-4 in such games.
Look at the cut and plate for the slam from the backout. Look at the bits from the wing in the final seconds of the Clemson game for the win. Manek plays head-to-head basketball, and without him, the UNC team would be a lot different.
If Tar Heels finishes this season as a member of Field 68, Manek will be a big reason for that.
“Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy it because it’s rare… that I really enjoy training him,” Davis said, curbing emotion. “I really enjoy being around him and I feel like Brady has been here for four years. I am so grateful to him and his family for the trust in me and the trust in this university and this program. For someone who has never lived outside Oklahoma to only decide to come play with a coach in their first year at a venue New…the team loves them. He’s been a part of Carolina basketball for the rest of his life.”