Fall 2020 Scouting Report
Since he joined the Oklahoma Sooners, along with the now legendary Trae Young as freshmen, Brady Manek has looked like a future pro. Simply put, finding 6’9”+ players with shooting prowess and athleticism can be a needle-in-a-haystack affair. When found, as in the case with Manek, it is almost impossible to not envision how a professional team can thrive with such a skillset. Small ball has been a topic du jour in basketball the last few seasons with a belief in the future of the sport skewing to the benefit of smaller and more skillful players.
However, what is lost in the discussion is basketball, with its current general rules, does not necessarily favor smaller players more than it did in the past but rather the strategies and trends have turned to benefit players with perimeter skill more now than ever before. If you can get the perimeter skill generally found in smaller backcourt players in bigger frontcourt players, that is where teams tend to start cooking with gasoline. That is where the potential of Brady Manek lies.
On exactly 500 attempts from beyond the arc thus far in Manek’s Oklahoma career, the big man has shot a very encouraging 37.4%. Better yet, Manek has demonstrated more versatility as a shooter than many reported “stretch bigs” in his draft class. Manek is very comfortable in pick and pop and perimeter relocation settings for his size, quickly getting into his 1-2 step rhythm when he catches the ball to immediately fire with a high release point. This comfort also branches out into the underlooked role of transition trailer as Manek can quickly get into shooting rhythm even from a good amount of distance behind the arc.
There is even a stepback jumper in the Brady bag for the rare times the big man does not get a clean look right away at his height. Applying footwork cleanly into many different shooting scenarios is a massive deal in determining Manek as a more lethal shooter than even many perimeter guards and wings.
One skill that must not be overlooked with Manek, is his ability to finish shots at the rim consistently. While Manek displays a good sense of angles for his layups around the paint, it is also important to point out that Brady is a good athlete. The ability to present as a possible lob threat in pick and roll and cutting actions or as a guaranteed two points with a deep post seal under the rim will be a major key in diversifying how Manek can contribute in higher-level offenses outside of simply spacing the floor and shooting jumpers. Manek should only increase his effectiveness around the rim and his frequency of getting deeper post position for strong finishes with more time gaining strength and increasing assertiveness with more touches as a senior in 2020-21.
Defensively, Brady Manek has been trusted by coach Lon Kruger with rather difficult defensive duties. Manek has a good bit of experience defending in above-the-screen pick and roll coverages out in perimeter space. While he must continue to improve his change-of-direction movements, the big man proves to be a very difficult defender to shoot or pass over.
Manek can generate a good number of deflections and gum up offensive actions that rely on passing windows or quick shooting windows just by extending his arms. This ability to disrupt offense also carries over when Manek takes on more weak side helper duties as he can sink well into the paint and use his athleticism and length to swipe at opponents who were freed towards the rim.
Among returning upperclassmen for the 2020-21 NCAA season, Manek stands to have a great shot at proving his consistent play finishing serves as the foundation for a player ready to log major offensive touches in a successful offense. Thus far, Manek’s role has gradually increased year by year with nothing but improvement following the increase in freedom.
A prolific season of displaying potent scoring inside and out, expanding his passing arsenal, and thriving in more of a defensive anchor role will have Manek squarely on the radar of pro scouts. Shooting in the frontcourt is a skill almost every team requires at the next level and getting that skillset with Manek’s physical tools is something every team is going to take a serious look at adding to their roster.