When it came to picking a college, Chris Manning “didn’t see the point in waiting until” his senior year. Especially not after the Randallstown junior landed an offer from Mount St. Mary’s.
“Really, it was just a great situation for me and my parents,” said Manning, who committed to the Mountaineers last week. “It’s only about an hour away from my house. [My family will] be able to come see me play at home games. I’ve talked to the coaches, and it really just felt like home.”
Manning, who plays for Team Sizzle on the AAU circuit, was also heavily recruited by Radford.
The Mount began recruiting the 6-foot-6, 185-pound power forward after an AAU tournament last year at VCU. Mount St. Mary’s coach Jamion Christian checked Manning out at a few Randallstown games this season, and praised the junior for his rebounding, his shot-blocking skills and his ability to finish in the paint.
Christian “said he likes my hustle, that I don’t take plays off,” Manning said. “They like the motor in me, just that I’m an all-around player. I can do a lot on the court.”
On Feb. 16, Manning travelled to Emmittsburg with Randallstown point guard Ahmaad Wilson to check out the Mount’s Northeast Conference matchup with Central Connecticut State – where Wilson will play next year.
“They beat Central Connecticut [89-80]. [I thought], ‘Wow, this is a really good school,’” Manning recalled. “I was surprised because I usually think … you have to go a long way from home for the best schools. But it’s great they’re right near my house. Everything was perfect when I made the decision.”
Manning, who also watched the Mount’s nationally televised loss to LIU-Brooklyn in the NEC championship game, thinks he’s the perfect fit for Christian’s up-tempo, pressure system.
“They get their bigs the ball a lot,” he said. “They have a lot of shooters. When you need them, they can spot up and shoot. They really get their big men involved in the game. As far as I’ve seen, their guards penetrate and dump off to the bigs. I work behind the offense really well. My style of play is working behind the defense, [the point guard penetrates and passes and] it’s a dunk every time.”
Manning said there was no temptation to prolong his recruitment once he visited the Mount and began building a strong relationship with Christian.
“He’s a great coach,” Manning said. “When I go down there to visit the Mount, he always has a warm attitude. He’s really a great coach from what I’ve seen. I see nothing but greatness out of him.”