Commit in Focus: Akolda Manyang

Top-ranked JuCo center grew up watching Oklahoma, cousin

Akolda Manyang had his first taste of Oklahoma basketball while watching his cousin, Longar Longar.

Longar played for the Sooners from 2004-2008, averaging double digits in his final two years as the Oklahoma pivot man.

It wasn’t much later that Longar started recruiting Manyang, who currently plays for Indian Hills Community College (Iowa), to play for his alma mater.

Longar first put Oklahoma on Manyang’s radar.

“I used to come and watch his games,” Manyang said. “I just loved it and the whole environment. When OU offered me, I was really excited.”

Manyang also had offers from Minnesota, Arizona State, Texas Tech and Virginia. Manyang had spoken with Kansas among a long list of schools that expressed interest in the 7-foot, top-ranked junior college center.

Passing through Norman late earlier this month on the way to the Dallas Shootout with his team, Manyang was able to take in an Oklahoma practice. He talked briefly with players and coaches during the first hour of practice.

“The reason I chose OU was because I feel really comfortable with the players,” said Manyang, who made his official visit during the summer. “I feel really comfortable with the coaches.”

Wardenburg believes Manyang could be an immediate asset for the Sooners. “He’s one of the top post guys in the nation,” Wardenburg said. “He has great offensive skills, a great work ethic. He’s going to be a big help here.” Manyang wound up at Indian Hills after falling one credit short during high school in Rochester, Minn. He had his pick of junior college options and chose the one that had the best history.

In his first season at Indian Hills, Manyang averaged 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He finished the season with 86 blocks in 31 games – just less than three per game.

Wardenburg called Manyang is the total package, with great hands around the basket and great work ethic – sometimes getting two or three workouts in per day.

He said that Manyang has all the tools to become a professional basketball player in the future.

“He’s very, very driven to become a great basketball player and extremely excited to be a Sooner,” Wardenburg said. “He loves this school, loves this team, loves this coaching staff. They’ve gotten a great player.”

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories