Nico Mannion has not played in college game yet, but the future Arizona Wildcats point guard is already being considered for major honors.
NCAA.com’s Andy Katz listed his top 11 candidates for the Bob Cousy Award—the award given to the nation’s top PG—and Mannion checks in at No. 6 and is the only freshman on the list.
Oregon’s Payton Pritchard (11) is the only other Pac-12 point guard mentioned.
“Mannion enters college with a ton of hype and the expectation that he will lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA tournament,” Katz writes.
The expectations are actually higher than that, with many expecting the Wildcats to be a Final Four contender, thanks to Mannion and the rest of their top-5 recruiting class.
“Nico is somebody that walks in the door with great size and athleticism and, I think, a complete and total understanding of how to play the position,” UA coach Sean Miller said in November. “I wouldn’t consider him just a pass-first point guard, I would call him an all-everything point guard. He can score in transition but he also knows how to get others involved. I give Nico a lot of credit because he was the first to jump on board. True to being a great point guard, you lead from the front both on offense and defense, but oftentimes you lead off the court as well. He paved the way for others to join him. Josh Green and him are great friends because they play on the summer circuit together.”