Manek, Brooks offer winning pedigree

The 2022 NBA draft is less than a week away, but the Pacers haven’t finished drafting yet. On Friday, Blue & Gold hosted six more prospects in their 11th pre-draft practice.

46 prospects have visited Indiana to audition for the Pacers over the past month, and six more players are due to arrive on Monday (highlighted by Shaydon Sharp’s predicted lottery pick).

Friday’s practice featured six players that Indiana could potentially consider in their second round picks, 31st and 58th overall. The two most famous names in the group were North Carolina forward Brady Manek and Michigan defenseman Eli Brooks.

Manek was a four-year freshman in Oklahoma (he was in the same freshman class as Trae Young), where he established himself as one of the best shooters in the country. After head coach Lon Krueger retired in 2021, Manek took advantage of the NCAA student-athlete benefit affected by COVID-19, choosing to transfer to North Carolina for one final season in 2021-2022.

Manek’s time at Chapel Hill may have been short, but it’s hard to imagine a more memorable season that didn’t lead to a national championship. The Tar Heels were a bubbly team entering March after the ups and downs of the campaign, but they’ve come together in an incredible last month.

First, North Carolina ruined Coach Kay Night by eliminating archrival Duke in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game at the Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 5. -double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Tar Heels made it to the NCAA Tournament finishing eighth in the East Region. Manek scored 28 points and 11 rebounds in the first round in a win over Marquette and then went on to score 26 points and five boards in overtime to upset first seed Baylor. They went all the way to the Final Four for a rematch against Duke, the first meeting between the two schools in the tournament. Carolina won again: Manek scored 14 points, four rebounds and three blocks.

Manek had 13 points, 13 boards and four blocks in the national title game, but the Hills lost to Kansas. However, Manek’s tenure at Tar Heel will definitely never be forgotten.

“Being around a really good group of guys, a really good coach, a really good coaching staff, just really good people,” Manek said of what he learned from last year. “For us to finally buy and be a really good team and go where we wanted to go even when people told us we couldn’t.”

2022 draft training: Brady Manek

The 6-9 sleazy forward has over 2,000 points in college. His best feature is his shooting. He threw more than 38 percent from behind the arc in his college career, but actually became even more effective when he rounded up more talent last season in North Carolina, knocking down a career-best 40.3 percent of his shots from behind the arc.

Manek said he knows his shooting is what draws teams to him, but he wants to show he can do more than just run around the court.

“I’ve been in a lot of big games,” Manek said. “I played in two very big conferences. I was at the tournament every year, I was supposed to participate in the national championship. Just playing big games defending really good players (and) playing with a lot of good players.”

Manek is realistic about his prospects for the next level. He’ll be 24 before next fall and he knows he’s unlikely to hear his name in the first round next week. However, he believes he can be a real asset to any team that tries to get his hands on him.

“I don’t see myself as an All-Star, but I want to help the All-Star Game,” he said.
“I want to be a guy who can only influence the game through my ability on the floor.

“I have a very good throw. People revere me as a shooter. And I also help the team – move the ball, move without the ball, just to get in a really good position and help the team win.”

Brooks also won a lot in his five years at Michigan. He came out of college with 124 wins, the most in school history, and helped the Wolverines achieve at least a Sweet Sixteen in all four years of the NCAA tournament (the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the pandemic), including the national championship game. First year.

The 6-1 guard was a role player in his first two seasons, averaging less than three points per game off the bench both years. But he took on a larger role in his final three seasons on campus and was named team captain for the final two years.

Last season, Brooks averaged 12.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 39.4% from three-point range. Some of his strongest performances came at the NCAA Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where he had 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals in a first-round win over Colorado State before posting a season-high 23 points and five assists in a Tennessee loss. in the second round.

“Reliable,” Brooks said of what he can bring to the team. “I feel like this is what I have always been throughout my career. And I just find a way to win.”

2022 Draft Workout: Eli Brooks

Brooks may not have stunning athleticism, but his winning pedigree may be enough to convince the team that he is worthy of the backup spot. He noted that he is already familiar with NBA concepts and terminology, having played under Michigan coach Juwan Howard, who returned to his alma mater after six years as an assistant coach with the Miami Heat.

Brooks also credits the Michigan experience with preparing him for the next level.

“Just playing on the big stage,” Brooks said. “Every game is televised and you play the best opponents. I think the Big Ten is the basketball league. Being able to play against great teams, having great competition every day really prepared me.”

Williams, Rodin noticed

Only two of the six prospects who worked for the Pacers on Friday were drafted into the NBA draft, and both of them — Texas Tech forward Bryson Williams and Seton Hall forward Jared Rhoden — had to earn their invitation the hard way.

Williams and Rhoden were among 44 prospects invited to the G League Elite Camp shortly before the May team-up. At the end of this event, the scouts vote for those players who, in their opinion, are most worthy of receiving an invitation to the plant. Williams and Rhoden were two of seven prospects honored this season.

Williams, 6-9, said he felt he deserved the call due to his high motor skills and “hardcore mentality” on defense, which were his primary focus during the pre-draft process.

Williams spent two seasons at Fresno State and two more at UTEP before moving on to Texas Tech for his final year of eligibility. He excelled even with a jump in competition, leading the Red Raiders in scoring with 14.1 points per game and making the All-Big 12 First Team.

But Williams said his game grew the most defensively during his time at Lubbock.

2022 Draft Practice: Bryson Williams

“I went to Texas Tech and that’s the only reason I went there to be a better quarterback,” he said. “The change of defense and coach (Mark) Adams as my head coach has helped me a lot (c) become a better defender overall.”

Williams said he has the versatility to defend every position and harass opponents with his nearly 7-3 wingspan.

On the other hand, Williams made significant strides in shooting during his college days. He made just four 3-pointers in two seasons at Fresno State, but gradually added that shot to his repertoire. Williams said he fine-tuned his mechanics and made it a habit to shoot 1,000 shots a day. The hard work paid off as he hit 40 of 96 attempts (41.7 percent) last season at Texas Tech.

Rhoden spent his entire four-year college career at Seton Hall. The 6-6 Wing averaged 15.5 points and 6.7 rebounds last season, earning All-Big East First Team honors.

Like Williams, Rhoden is focused on showing his defensive versatility. He said the pre-process was “a long journey” but credits his approach with allowing him to be successful in gaining attention.

2022 draft training: Jared Rhoden

“Just be persistent,” Rodin said. “I think this is the most important thing for me. Just move forward little by little. I started at the Portsmouth Invitational, I made my way up and kept moving forward and forward.

“I think you just have to keep working hard and be resilient and believe in yourself. That’s all I did during this process was bet on myself and know that I’m capable.

Horn, Russell offers experience, scoring shot

The final two prospects in Friday practice were Tulsa forward Jeraia Horne and Maryland defenseman Fatts Russell.

Even in modern college basketball, where transfers are commonplace, Horn had a unique student experience. He began his career in Nebraska and moved to Tulsa after his first season. He missed a year and then played two seasons with the Golden Hurricane before moving to Colorado for the 2020–21 season.

Horn averaged 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in his only season at Boulder, but then decided to switch again. On a rare occasion, Horn moved back to Tulsa for one final season.

Horn had a memorable 6-7 senior year in college, averaging a career-best 16.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and shooting 41.5% from three-point range. In his last home match, Horn became the highlight of all time when he drained semi-court fired the buzzer defeat UCF.

2022 Draft Workout: Jeraiya Horn

“That’s what I had on the board so I could hit the winner of the game,” Horn said. “Did I know this was going to happen at a seniors party the last time I was at the Reynolds Center? I didn’t know, but it was amazing. I had a great experience there and it was a great way to end my career.”

Horn’s shooting is likely his best chance to secure a foothold on the NBA roster, though he said he also believes he can defend four positions and “do his best to win.”

Russell scored over 2,000 career points in four seasons in Rhode Island and one in Maryland. His mother nicknamed him “Fatts” because he was a chubby kid, in fact he is one of the smallest players in this year’s draft class, weighing only 5-11 and 165 pounds.

Despite his short stature, Russell achieved great college results in both the Atlantic Ten and the Big Ten. Last season in Maryland, he averaged 15.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals.

Russell admitted that he will likely have a different role at the next level, so he hopes to stand out with his energy and level of effort. He named three smaller defensemen Jordan McLaughlin of Minnesota, José Alvarado of New Orleans and Facundo Campazzo of Denver as players he would like to emulate.

“They get a great person first and foremost,” Russell said when asked what he would say to a team considering casting him. “Great locker room guy, great leader. And then just a guy who will compete at every end of the court, always, 100% of the time.”

2022 draft training: Fatts Russell

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