Thanks to all the coaches who recruited me but I will be a Red Raider this year ??s?? #?Wreckem ???????? ?????? #?%%MATCH_11%% pic.twitter.com/i3nWudIK1x— %%MATCH_0%% (@proboundzay) August 15, 2014
Isaiah Manderson.6-foot-10, 250-pound (he has also been listed at 6-foot-11 and 250) native of Alpharetta, Georgia and transfer from Oregon State announced today that he is taking his game to Tech instead of Cleveland State, Temple and Oregon, all of whom were competing for Manderson’s services.
The addition of Manderson, who is rated a three-star recruit but whose offer list (Auburn, Maryland, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Florida State, Kansas State, Memphis, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Wake Forest, Iona, North Carolina State) suggests four-star talent, totally changes the complexion of the upcoming season.
Prior to Manderson’s announcement, the hope—and it was an uneasy one—was that Tech would be able to compete in the Big 12 and p erhaps win a game or two more than last season. But with the addition of Manderson, hope fades away and expectation takes it place. The Red Raiders now have enough horses that you expect them to be able to slug it out with the best of the Big 12, and perhaps win a few of those prime contests.
The commitment of Manderson is similar to the Tech football team’s surprising Holiday Bowl win over Arizona State. If Tech hadn’t beaten the Sun Devils, the Red Raiders would still be mired in a long losing streak and the atmosphere surrounding the program would be borderline dismal. But with that win, real excitement is in the air and Tech fans truly expect a rousing and successful season. Manderson’s commitment provides a similar fillip to the basketball program.
So what exactly does Tech have in Manderson?
Obviously, they have another big body to lean on the oppositions’ bigs, to grab some rebounds and to block some shots. They also have five more fouls to give from players down low.
More specifically, Manderson appears to be a rather polished player with more of a finesse game than power attack. Manderson really does look like a good shot blocker who understands how to block shots without fouling. He also has good hands, and when he gets the ball in low, goes straight up with it rather than putting it on the floor or gathering himself for a move. Manderson also looks like a player who has pretty good wheels for a big man, which will help Tech’s transition to a more up-tempo game.
Craig Robinson, Manderson’s erstwhile coach at Oregon State (and Barack Obama’s brother-in-law) has this to say about him: “Manderson can score in the low post with a nice variety of moves. He likes to attack the rim from both low blocks sweeping across the lane where he displayed touch and feel with either hand. Manderson has excellent footwork for such a young inside player. He also attacks to the point that he forces defenders to foul him. Manderson is a powerful rebounder. He goes and gets the ball with two hands on a consistent basis in his area.”
And the signature of Manderson is obviously a significant recruiting coup for Tubby Smith, and perhaps slightly surprising considering the interest he generated from the University of Oregon among others. But perhaps, just perhaps, Smith had an inside line.
As noted above, Manderson is from Alpharetta, Georgia. And it just so happens that starting point guard Robert Turner is also from Georgia (Augusta), and that the Tech football team has six Georgia natives (Demetrious Alston, Zach Barnes, Jacarthy Mack, Josh Outlaw, D.J. Polite-Bray and Brandon Thorpe) and that all six of those players’ hometowns are within 40 miles or less of Alpharetta. Given that basketball and football players cross-pollinate socially a great deal, it is possible that Tubby and Kliff Kingsbury had the Georgia posse welcome Manderson to the high plains.
Regardless, Manderson is certainly a welcome addition to the Texas Tech basketball program.