Illini Show Interest In Mangok Mathiang

The Fighting Illini have flirted with the idea of bringing in two big men from southern Illinois prep power Brehm Prep over the past few years. They have identified another target that might be the best big-man prospect in the school's history. Mangok Mathiang is on the Illini radar!

Mangok Mathiang is a 6'-10" 205 lbs. power forward from Brehm Prep in Carbondale, Illinois. The 2013 post prospect has a high skill level for a big man who is still learning the game. Jerrance Howard recently attended one of Mathiang's games, and Illinois is interested.

Brehm Prep head coach Aaron Lee says Howard was in to check out the progress of his big man while the Bears were playing against tough competition over the Thanksgiving holiday.

"They came to our games in Peoria at the Tournament of Champions because they are in need of a big kid and Mangok will be a very good big kid in two or three years."

Lee says some other schools are showing early interest in the intriguing post player.

"Clemson, Kent State, Southern Illinois are looking at him. Chris (Lowery) loves him. We are going to have to fight to get one of our guys to SIU. Iowa and several other schools have expressed interest. Auburn was at our game last night looking at him."

Mathiang said even more schools are looking at him to possibly add to their 2013 class.

"Oklahoma State, SIU-Edwardsville, DePaul, and some others."

There are several schools that have got out ahead of the curve on Mathiang and offered him scholarships. He talked about the offers he currently holds.

"SIU-Edwardsville, UT-Martin, and Kent State."

Mathiang has three years to make a decision on the school he will eventually attend. It is still early in the process, but he already knows a few aspects he will be looking for in the college he chooses.

"I want to play in a system where I know the coach well and get along with the players. I want to go to a school that has very good academics because I want to get my degree."

Lee likes the potential he has seen in the power forward in the early part of the season. Hitting the weight room is one aspect Lee says he can improve on, which will take his game to another level.

"Mangok is going to be very good if he continues to work and get stronger. He is young so he is still maturing. Once he figures out how to be a big man, he is going to be exceptional. He needs to work a little bit harder and get tougher for us."

Mathiang says he is enjoying his sophomore season at Brehm and playing with his team. They are working hard and playing as a team.

"The season is going pretty good. It just started, but we are working real hard. We are looking for good things coming our way."

Brehm had a dominate performance in the opening game of the Best of the Midwest Shootout against Summit Christian and 6'-9" forward Walter Pitchford. They totally shut down their opponent in the first half despite being without senior point guard and Oregon commitment Bruce Barron.

It was quite a performance of team defense. Lee liked what he got out of his team in the game.

"I thought defensively we did a really good job of getting them out of their sets and not allowing them to be comfortable. I think that was the key to the game. "They are a very good offensive team, but our ball pressure allowed us to get them out of their rhythm and out of sync. It created easy offense for us. To go into half time with a 30-point lead, it makes you feel good about your practice. That was a team effort. Those are the best kinds to have."

Mathiang was a major part of that defensive effort. He is extremely long and athletic and knows how to use it on the defensive end. He blocks and alters shots consistently.

The power forward hits the glass very hard, especially on the offensive end where he cleaned up several misses with tip dunks and finishes strong around the hoop despite his lack of top-notch strength.

In the post he showed nice footwork and skill. He opens up wide and receives the ball while backing his defender down. He showed a nice left-handed turnaround hook shot that was not in his game just a couple weeks earlier.

If Mathiang continues to add to his game and get stronger, high majors are going be making trips to Carbondale to see him.

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