Justin Greene and Justin Manns presence on the court together will provide tough matchups for opponents this season.
Kent State’s post play led by Greene and Manns proved in Tuesday’s 62-59 win over Robert Morris that they have the potential to compete against any opponents.
Manns, a 6-foot-11 junior center, looked hesitant to defend shots in the post at times late in the game, but proved with a few blocked shots that, with time, he can be a force on the defensive end.
Although Manns, who is only playing in his fourth year of organized basketball, has just four starts with the Flashes, his size combined with his defensive skills and post presence on offense can match any opponent throughout the season with some practice.
Greene, the 6-foot-8 junior forward, will most likely contend for the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year award this season. Greene was picked as a member on the preseason All-MAC First Team and earned MAC Player of the Week honors from his performance in his first five games.
Greene recorded a double-double against Robert Morris with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Greene is averaging 18.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game through Kent State’s first four games.
He has the skills to average a double-double each game without Manns on the court, but when the duo pairs up, it could be a nightmare for the opposition.
With each of them on the court, teams will have a tough time scoring over two players that can both match up against anyone’s biggest man. Greene and Manns have the ability to block shots, hit short-range jumpers and grab the missed shots for defensive rebounds or put backs.
Against Robert Morris yesterday, Manns used his height advantage, which gave him three inches over any Robert Morris player, to add a big-play potential to every possession.
With 12:29 remaining in regulation, Kent State trailed 37-40. Robert Morris’ Russell Johnson took an inside jumper, and Manns tossed his long arms in the air and jumped to make it nearly impossible for a basketball to travel over his hands and into the basket.
He batted the ball out to freshman guard Eric Gaines, who then ran a quick give-and-go with sophomore guard Randal Holt to create a wide-open dunk for himself.
This displayed the explosiveness that Manns will be able to bring to Kent State’s game play, explosiveness that can shift the momentum at any point in the game to give the Flashes an extra advantage.
But Manns, who finished with six points, five rebounds and three blocks, showed his inexperience late in the game.
With under a minute left, Manns allowed Johnson to sink a nearly unguarded layup because he didn’t attempt to make a block on Johnson, who is five inches shorter than him.
Whether it was because Manns didn’t want to commit a foul or he just thought Johnson wouldn’t make the shot, Manns should have attempted to stop the layup.
And as the season progresses, Manns has the potential to obtain the ability to defend shots with more force and gain a solid reputation for his post play alongside Greene at Kent State.
Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected]