Manny uses a lot of possessions, 31.8%, but he is still surprisingly efficient with a rating of 106.9. This is a vast improvement from last year when he posted an offensive rating of only 94.8. Only Manny Harris and Evan Turner used more than 28% of their teams’ possessions and their ratings were very close. Manny isn’t a shooter either, he’s just a scorer. He knows how to get to the line, he draws the most fouls per 40 minutes in the conference, and he just knows how to score.
Manny Harris become a force on the glass this year. It was clear that we were going to struggle on the glass without Ekpe, and Manny stepped up and increased his rebounded average by over 2 and a half boards per game. I would say without hesitation that he is the best rebounder on the team and he should only get better with his sheer athletic ability.
This is another area where Manny made huge progress in his sophomore campaign. Last year he was a scorer and nothing more. This year he learned how valuable he can be when he distributes the ball. Averaging almost two more assists per game (2.7 to 4.4) and doubling his assist to turnover ratio (0.7 to 1.4) it became clear that Manny has the ability to set up his teammates. It is one thing to score the ball but it’s another to make the team better even when your shot isn’t falling.
- Shot Selection
There are still times when Manny leaves fans scratching their heads. He is plagued by mini bouts of frustration that lead to poor decision making. His shot has improved dramatically since his high school days but when he shoots pull-up threes out of the flow of the offense it’s enough to make me scream. Learning what is a good shot, when to pass, or when to drive is a process and I have no doubt that Manny will continue to improve in this aspect but this is definitely the next step. Of course it also must be mentioned that some of Michigan’s biggest wins came because those threes were falling.
- Ball Handling
The turnovers are still frustrating. Manny has the ball in his hands extensively so some turnovers are to be expected but there is definitely room for improvement. His dribbling is still a bit high and if he wants to be an NBA two-guard he’s going to have to continue to improve here.
When Manny drives the lane it’s essentially an all or nothing proposition — he’s going to take it all the way to the hole or kick it out. Developing a pull-up jumper would prevent defenses from packing the lane and cheating on the defensive side of the ball. This is never going to be Manny’s bread and butter but the threat of the pull-up jumper will go a long ways toward keeping defenses honest.
Manny improved in essentially every statistical category on the board between his freshman and sophomore years. It might be unfair to expect the same but with his ability it’s hard to expect anything less. With a little more depth I wouldn’t be surprised to see his scoring average drop a bit but he needs to continue to improve with his shooting, efficiency, and ball handling.
Manny’s role should remain about the same. I think the move to the wing did him good and that is definitely his natural college position. Adding more shooters and a point guard to the roster should help alleviate some of the pressure put on Harris as well.
Big Ten Player of the Year is certainly not out of the question for next season if Manny continues to improve. I also want to see him get a triple double, the closest he has come is 26-10-8.
- Clemson – 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 7 of 15 (3-6 3pt) shooting
There were no season highs or anything that remarkable statistically but this was a night when Manny brought his ‘A’ game. When the three ball is falling Manny is almost impossible to guard and that was the case in Kansas City. Manny carried Michigan through the first half while the rest of the team looked a bit shell shocked before finishing the game down the stretch. Of course the biggest play of the game was Manny’s driving layup that essentially iced the game.
- Purdue – 27 points, 8-15 (3-5 3pt) shooting, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
He may not have even been the player of the game but this was as motivated and focused as I have seen Manny play throughout his career. Manny hit some huge three pointers in this one and got a little bit of revenge after his ejection in the first match-up with Purdue. It was tough to settle on two “shining moments” for Manny so I also put together an honorable mention list as well.
- Honorable Mention: Penn State (28-6-7), at Northwestern (25 pts in 2nd half & OT), Oakland (13 assists, 1 turnover), Northeastern (26-10-8), Duke
Final Grade: A
There is no one more deserving of an ‘A’ than Manny. He was first team All-Big Ten and will likely be named the team MVP at tonight’s banquet. And while the season was not without a few black eyes, including the Iowa debacle, the Purdue ejection, a frustrating performance at Penn State, and a couple other no-shows. I think the only acceptable grade for Manny is an A when you consider that he led Michigan in minutes, points, rebounds (tied), assists, and steals this year.