Arizona Basketball: Nico Mannion, time to prove all doubters wrong

Arizona Basketball leader, Nico Mannion, was left off the final list of the Bob Cousy award. More motivation for him to prove doubters wrong.

Red Mamba. In his freshman year, starting point guard Nico Mannion has lived up to the hype for Arizona Basketball. He’s the leader of this team and when he is out on the floor, he gives this team the best chance to win. One of the best point guards in the country, yet he was left off the list as one of the finalists for the Bob Cousy award. That’s just more motivation for him to prove everyone wrong.

Not to take anything away from those who made the cut, but Mannion’s overall skillset and the impact he has on the game make him one of the best point guards in college basketball. Even though many players don’t really care too much about these honors, Mannion not making the list has to motivate him to some degree. There are two players from the Pac-12 who did made the cut, McKinley Wright and Payton Pritchard.

This freshman point guard is the type of player that knows how good he is and lets his play speak for itself. Every once in awhile a player like Mannion needs to be motivated to take his game to the next level. This might be just what the doctor ordered. We’ll see what happens. We do know up until now, his stats have been impressive, to say the least.

Mannion has started in all 21 games for the Wildcats. He is averaging 14.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game, which is second in the Pac-12 behind Pritchard of Oregon. As the season has progressed, he is beginning to gain confidence from beyond the arc and in the paint.

Mannion has scored in double figures in 16 games with a season-high 24 points against Penn during the Wooden Legacy Tournament. Even when he has had those games when shots weren’t falling, he was still getting others involved with his precision passing.

Off the fast break, pick and roll or driving to the basket in the half-court, Mannion has an elite ability to get the ball to his teammates for good looks. In three games this season, he has recorded double-digit assists. Mannion, dropping off those dimes!

After the Wildcats lost a couple of close games, including one point to the Oregon Ducks in overtime, many were starting to question the abilities of this team. Mannion had a few chances to win the game for his team but was unable to capitalize. Fast forward to the present, he has found a way to put those losses behind him and get the Wildcats back atop the Pac-12. That’s what great players do.

See what Mannion had to say after his team completed the sweep of Washington schools:

Even with the ups and downs, Nico Mannion has had this season, he has found a way to get the job done. As an Arizona Basketball fan, you have to love that about the Red Mamba. At Zona Zealots, we look forward to Mannion proving why he belongs among the top point guards in the country. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!

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