Hey there, 'ol Katie Sports-Talk here and I have a confession to make. My last name is not actually 'Sports-Talk'. I know. Crazy considering how I'm always talking "sports this" and "sports that" and "intangibles" and "stats".
The hard truth is that my last name is actually Mannion, and beyond crushing beers in parking lots and finding those little balconies outside the stadiums where you can rip heaters during the game, I'm a bit useless in that genre. And despite being incredibly coordinated, a pro-athlete career was never an option for me.
... So it's pretty exciting news that there are other Mannions out there picking up the slack for me.
Arizona freshman Nico Mannion is entering the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Tuesday.
Mannion, the No. 14 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, is considered one of the top point guards in this draft class, averaging 14 points and 5.3 assists per game for the Wildcats this season while being named to the All-Pac-12 second team.
The 6-foot-3 playmaker was identified as a standout early in his career. He was invited to three USA Basketball camps as a 15- and 16-year-old before ultimately committing to play for the Italian national team at the U16 European Championship, in which he averaged 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in just 28 minutes. Mannion holds dual citizenship, having been born in Siena, Italy, while his father, Pace Mannion, an NBA draft pick in 1983, was playing professional basketball there.
I like to think way back to our ancestors where Nico's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather happened to be super fit and skilled at sprinting and aiming in on animals with a slingshot, but for some reason his brother (my Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather) was more of a hang out around the cave fire and goof on 'em type of guy, and our DNA just sort of parted ways from then on… (That's 100% for sure what sharing a last name means, and how genetics work.)
Either way, best of luck to him as he represents that side of our very closely connected family and chases the dream on our behalf. Whoever Mannion plays for, I'll be rooting him on (between boozy concessions runs).
Side note, to any Mannions reading this let's get a big meetup going late this summer. Someone please reach out to Sean and see if he'll foot the bill.