UVU Men’s Hoops: Wolverines look for first win at Idaho State
After nearly two years of waiting, Utah Valley center Akolda Manyang found out a lot about himself during his team’s first road trip.
Manyang, a 7-foot senior who transferred from Oklahoma and sat out the 2016-17 season, more than held his own this weekend when the Wolverines took on No. 5 Kentucky and top-ranked Duke. The Rochester, Minn., native averaged 11.5 points on 60 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 blocks against the Wildcats and the Blue Devils. Manyang recorded a double-double with a career-high 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against No. 1 Duke and totaled a career-high six assists.
For his efforts, Manyang was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week.
“He’s been really good,” UVU coach Mark Pope said. “He’s really carried us through things when we were stuck trying to figure out some zone offense on the fly here. Go figure that we’d see this much zone against Kentucky and Duke. But his numbers were outstanding. AK is an extraordinary young man and he’s been through a lot. I’d put him up there as perhaps one of the best interior forces in the country. He’s been really impressive and taking on a great leadership role.”
Manyang also had 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in an exhibition win against Dixie State.
“I would say I’m being more patient and also that I’m getting into game shape,” Manyang said. “Practice and game shape are two different things. I’m just trying to protect the rim, do whatever it takes to help my team out and just win the game.”