Columbus native James Manns, a 6-foot-7 forward, picked Wright State over Milwaukee. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Forward picks Wright State over Milwaukee

Among the 6,675 fans watching Wright State play Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the Nutter Center on Feb. 11 was one who wasn’t rooting for either team.

James Manns, a 6-foot-7 forward from Columbus, had scholarship offers from both schools and was paying close attention to each team, knowing his collegiate decison was coming down to one of them.

Wright State won the game 88-79, and nearly three months later the Raiders also won the services of Mann, who announced his decision last week.

“I really liked the way their program is run, and I liked the school, too,” Manns said. “I like how they just get it and go and don’t wait for the defense to set up.”

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Manns said its similar to the style he played at Kingston Academy in Middletown last year, and the one he ran at Walnut Ridge High School, where he led the Scots to to the Columbus City League championship game as a junior and senior.

His junior season included a trip to the state semifinals that Manns extended with a game-winning shot with 9.7 seconds left in the regional semifinals, which he called the highlight of his prep career.

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But he didn’t get a chance to repeat the run as a senior after breaking his hand in the city championship.

Manns averaged 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists as a senior. At Kingston he averaged 16 points, seven rebounds and one assist.

“James is perfect for our system,” WSU coach Scott Nagy said. “He has great hands and is a tremendous passer. He handles the ball very well, and is extremely effective in the post. James will be a matchup problem for most teams as they try to figure out how to guard him. He will have an opportunity to impact our team right away.”

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Manns said he can play anywhere, but he has a preference.

“I love playing on the inside,” he said. “You get a lot of touches in there. And I like to give assists, too, so when they double team me I can kick it out.”

The WSU coaches weren’t the only ones happy about Manns picking the Raiders over Milwaukee.

“It’s a short drive from Columbus, so my parents and family and coaches can all come see me play,” he said.

Manns will be the fifth new face on the team in 2017-18. Last month the Raiders signed 6-5 guard Jaylon Hall from Doss High School in Louisville, Ky. Previously, they inked guard Tyler Mitchell from Kings High School while guard Cole Gentry transferred to Wright State from South Dakota State in December.

Bill Wampler transferred from Drake but will be ineligible until 2018-19 due to NCAA transfer rules.

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