EuroLeague Rising Star: Niccolo Mannion

From the current list of Euroleague Rising Stars, one name stands out due to his different path, Nico Mannion, the son of former NBA player Pace Mannion. He learned basketball in the USA, debuted in the NBA and then took the path of Europe, arriving in Italy at 20 years old, and signing with Virtus Bologna.

After a high school career in which he scored a lot of points, Mannion scored 37 points, including the game-winning three-pointer, in an 82–80 victory against Shadow Mountain High School, which had won 73 straight games against Arizona. He followed the college where the first results for Arizona began to be seen. Mannion led his team to the Wooden Legacy title and was named the tournament’s most valuable player after averaging 16.3 points and 7.3 assists per game. Mannion was selected with the 48th overall pick by the Golden State Warriors for which he played 30 games and scored 4.1 points in 12 minutes per game.

In this first Euroleague season, he is really impressive from the 3-point line, having 46.7% and 5.2 points in 10 minutes played. He scored 13 points in 19 minutes with Fenerbahce, and 11 points in 9 minutes against Zvezda.

He has solid creativity with the ball in his hands and shooting, impressive long-range shots off the dribble against a solid defense, has an effective one-handed floater and he is capable of making highlight passes. 15 points in a single quarter against Venice, finishing the match with 27 points and 5 assists in 25 minutes, is a sign that we are talking about a future superstar. Just a month before, he helped Italy, the country he chose to play to qualify for WC 2023, managing to score 28 points and 6 assists in 30 minutes played against Ukraine, a match won by Italy 85-75.

He has a creative style of play with good footwork and a change of speed, he will probably be tough to stop after he starts playing more time and gets courage. He needs to improve his mid-range shooting and he will become a wanted superstar for NBA teams.

Valentin Petruta

Image credit: EuroLeague