Former Wildcat Nico Mannion to play professionally in Italy

Following a decent first season in the NBA and a remarkable run at the 2020 Summer Olympics, former Wildcat Nico Mannion is heading to Italy. 

Making his long-anticipated professional appearance this past season in the NBA, former Wildcat Nico Mannion saw decent success with the Golden State Warriors organization, as the dynamic and athletic guard split time at the professional and G-League levels.

Nico even showed glimpses at times this past season, like scoring 19 points against the Sacramento Kings back in March, also finishing the year by averaging 4.1 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 rebounds per game.

He then followed that up with a tremendous run at the 2020 Summer Olympics just a couple of weeks ago, as he helped to lead Italy to a fifth-place finish before losing to France in the quarterfinals.

After a productive couple of months, things looked promising coming into the 2021 season as Nico was another year older, and was perhaps primed for an increased role with the Warriors this coming season.

However, that was until Tuesday afternoon, as it was announced that Nico Mannion is heading to Italy to play professionally.

Officially leaving the Warriors and signing with Virtus Bologna of the Italian Lega Basket Serie A, Mannion will be transitioning from playing in the NBA to Europe.

However, the important thing to note here is that he will still be a restricted free agent and the Warriors will retain his NBA rights. So feasibly, Nico could return after a year or two and play for Golden State again.

Plus, the Warriors will face some challenging roster issues after signing play Chris Chiozza to a two-way contract that would make playing time a bit limited for Nico and others.

Overall, this seems like a win-win situation for Nico, as he will go to Europe, continue to develop while playing against the best in Italy. Most importantly, he will have to option to come back to the NBA at any point.