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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Indiana Wesleyan Kyle Mangas of Indiana Wesleyan vs. Saint Francis

  • Courtesy Indiana Wesley Grant Prible

  • Indiana Wesleyan Indiana Wesleyan’s Kyle Mangas, a Warsaw graduate, averaged 21.8 points as a freshman this season.

Thursday, March 08, 2018 1:00 am

Warsaw native a freshman phenom

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

It would be an understatement to say Warsaw graduate Kyle Mangas has had a terrific season for the Indiana Wesleyan men's basketball team.

• The 6-foot-3 guard was voted player of the year in the Crossroads League, which has area teams Saint Francis, Huntington and Grace. He's the fourth Wildcats player to receive the honor from conference coaches.

• He's averaged 21.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3 assists for the Wildcats (26-7), leading them to the conference's regular-season and tournament championships. His 718 points are the third most in team history and the fifth most this season in NAIA Division II.

• He's scored as many as 40 points (against Saint Francis) and has been no slouch defensively; he had five steals against Spring Arbor and has averaged 1.2 for a team that has outscored opponents 88.3 to 77.4.

Oh, and did we mention Mangas is only a freshman? He's the first freshman to win player of the year since the Crossroads League began awarding it in 1990 and the first non-senior since Huntington's Alex Kock was a co-winner in 2006.

“It's been awesome,” Mangas said of his first season with the Wildcats, who are a No. 1 seed for the national championship tournament and will face eighth-seeded Antelope Valley (California), which is 20-7, at 1 p.m. today in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“I've learned a lot from our older group of guys and from our coaches. They've given me a lot of confidence. Yeah, we have a really special team this year, and I'm looking forward to the tournament.”

Mangas isn't the only northeast Indiana native playing for Indiana Wesleyan, which is in Marion. The Wildcats also have 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Grant Prible, a Bluffton graduate, who has played in 19 games and averaged 3.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 11.9 minutes.

Mangas and Prible got to know each other in 2016 when they were both Indiana All-Stars, and they're now roommates. Prible, who averaged more than 17.8 points and 8 rebounds as a Bluffton senior, redshirted as a college freshman.

“We're pretty close, ... and I love playing with him,” Mangas said. “He has a high basketball IQ. He's the most athletic guy on our team and is just awesome to play with.”

There are other local players in Sioux Falls.

IU East (31-2), a No. 1 seed, has Jacoby Claypool (Northrop), Aaron Thomas (Northrop) and former Saint Francis player Charles Peterson.

Bethel (22-9), a No. 5 seed, has Trey'von Covington (Snider), Kyle Hartman (Bishop Dwenger), Paul Forman (Churubusco) and Trevion Crews (North Side).