Northern Roots, Southern Interest For Atkins

Junior Manny Atkins, a small forward, turned in a strong weekend at the Real Deal. Here's the back story of the kid who talks a little differently than his southern peers.

His home is Tucker, Ga., at local Tucker High School. However, there's a decidedly northern twang in his voice. Manny Atkins, a 6-foot-5 small forward, resides in the south but his roots tell a different story.

Born in Manhattan, the New Yorker in him comes out most when he talks. "I kept the accent," Atkins said. "I go there every summer so I end up coming back to Georgia with a couple of words they say."

Well, summer's almost here and that means a return trip to the Big Apple but not before he takes care of business with the Atlanta Celtics. Building on a junior season that saw him score 24 points a game, the spring has been solid thus far on the trail.

"It was a breakout year," Atkins said. "My junior year, I had to get out and show everyone who I am and what I can do. We won the state championship and had big time players (last year) but this was my year to step up and take control. In AAU ball, I'm going to have to step it up and work on the little things like ball handling. This is going to be my big summer."

Colleges are getting more comfortable with him. Georgia and Georgia Tech, of course, are watching him closely. Florida State, Auburn and LSU are dabbling with him too. Alabama, Clemson, Kentucky, Xavier, Providence and East Carolina have reached out. Just the other day, VCU, Virginia Tech and Utah stopped by school to see him.

"They can start offering me at this point, starting with the beginning of my summer," Atkins said of the attention. "From there on around the middle of the summertime I'll have a good idea of what I can do."

Some see him as a scoring wing guard, others like him swinging and spending time at the small forward. "I think I'm more comfortable with the small forward because I can bump down low and play on the outside. But, I could do both. I'm most comfortable as a three; you can do everything from there."

It won't be long before the interest turns to offers. At 6-5, he's as solid as they come and once he gains confidence on the circuit, exposure won't be a problem.

The big question is where will home be a year from now. "To tell you the truth, I think I want to stay more towards the southern area. I feel most comfortable 4-5 hours away (from Georgia)."

Accent or not, home is beginning to look like its below the Mason Dixon Line.

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