Just when you thought it was going to be a quiet day on the ranch.....
On Monday evening, we got a bit of recruiting news, as class of 2020 point guard Nico Mannion announced his top 10 schools. As you can infer from reading about it here, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are in the group.
blessed to announce my top 1️⃣0️⃣!! pic.twitter.com/leyot479oZ— niccolo (@niccolomannion) June 4, 2018
Mannion also retweeted this tweet, which refers to the group as a cutdown to a group of 10, so I suppose we can call that an endorsement and consider the group to be his final 10 as well.
.@niccolomannion has narrowed down his recruitment to 10 schools ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/43vmGTg8QW— AZ Finest Mixtape (@AzFinestMixtape) June 4, 2018
The notable names in the remaining nine squads are Duke, Vanderbilt, Kansas, Arizona, and Villanova. That’s some pretty strong competition for Mannion’s services, so fingers crossed, I suppose.
247 Sports lists Mannion at 6’3” and 180 pounds. He’s a point guard, hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, where he attends Pinnacle High School. The 247 Sports Composite ranking has Mannion has the #23 player in the country, trailing behind familiar names to Marquette recruiting watchers as Jalen Suggs (#2) and Jalen Johnson (#8), and just two spots ahead of the recently offered Johnny Juzang (#25). Mannion is marked as a five star prospect, and the second best point guard (behind Jeremy Roach) and the second best player in Arizona (behind Kyree Walker).
While he’s officially part of the class of 2020 right now, Mannion is already expecting to reclassify to 2019. He recently talked to AZCentral.com about moving to 2019 as part of the plan since the start of his freshman year at Pinnacle. He’ll also be spending the summer in Europe with the Italian National Team. They’ll have practices starting next week leading into their World Cup qualifying matches at the end of the month. If Mannion, who played for Italy’s U-16 squad already, plays for Italy in the qualifiers, he’ll be officially cap-tied to Italy in terms of international play.
This brings us to why Mannion can play for Italy, and in a round about way, it explains why Marquette might have an advantage in terms of his recruitment. Mannion’s mother is Italian, and played on their volleyball national team. His father, Pace, played professionally in Italy for 13 years, which explains how he ended up marrying an Italian woman. Pace also played for six years in the NBA, which is where we start bringing Marquette into the picture. See, Pace played for the Utah Jazz in 1984-85 and 1985-86. Those were his second and third years in the league, the same as teammate Thurl Bailey. Bailey was developing into something of a star for the Jazz at the time, but he ended up making friends with the lesser used Mannion along the way, a friendship that has continued since then. Thurl Bailey, of course, is the father of brand new Golden Eagle Brendan Bailey.
Does having a familiar face on the roster help head coach Steve Wojciechowski recruit the uber-talented Mannion? Well, it’s hard to say for sure, but it’s definitely not going to hurt, that’s for sure.
Here’s a three-plus minute video of Mannion’s highlights. Be advised: it’s from March 2017, but it’s the only clip that’s of a worthwhile length.
Presuming Mannion does make the move to 2019, Marquette will have two scholarships available to fill with the departures of Joseph Chartouny and Matt Heldt. If he ends up staying in 2020, that will be a much bigger recruiting class for Wojo, both in size and stature. Not only will MU have four spots coming open, the Golden Eagles will be looking to replace Markus Howard and Sam Hauser.
Here’s how the MU scholarship picture looks going forward.