Fans Are Buzzing Over College Basketball's New Larry Bird
Larry Bird was a once-in-a-generation talent who transformed the game of basketball with his high basketball IQ and rare set of skills.
On the court, there will never be another to play like Bird, but there is a talented young player at Oklahoma University named Brady Manek who looks just like him. And his game is pretty good, too.
Manek, a 6-foot-9 sophomore out of Harrah, Oklahoma, bears a striking physical resemblance to Bird — same face, same hair, same wispy mustache, same height.
Brady Manek’s transformation to Larry Bird is almost complete. #Sooners pic.twitter.com/D3XkG4R4kC
— Brandon Drumm (@BrandonDrumm247) September 25, 2018
And he has some game. As a freshman, playing alongside NCAA leading scorer Trae Young, Manek started 26 games and averaged 10.2 points per game. He also pulled down 5.2 rebounds per game, which was 17th in the Big 12.
Just a Boy and a Dream!?? @CarlinHartman https://t.co/uFwI2SGCHs
— brady manek (@BradyManek) September 2, 2018
He also shot .383 from 3-point range, which was 14th in the conference. Further, he was one of only nine Division I freshmen to produce at least 160 rebounds and 50 3-pointers.
Seeing double? ?
Larry Bird has an identical twin in Oklahoma's Brady Manek https://t.co/Wq6EMnMmON pic.twitter.com/8IPTS1MdC1
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 3, 2018
Here is Manek last year, pouring in 28 points against Oklahoma State. He didn’t have the trademark Bird hair last year, but he did have the sweet jumper.
This year, with Young having moved on to the NBA, Manek should be primed for a breakout season for the Sooners.
“I’ve always been able to shoot,” Manek said last January in an interview with Sooner Sports. “I grew up playing against people who were two or three years older than me. You can’t just go in there and shoot a layup because they’re three years older than you and you’re a little kid. I always had my brother (Kellen) on the team and he was the bruiser down low. I was always finding ways to get open and moving without the ball.”
Manek’s coach, Lon Kruger, told Sooner Sports last year that they didn’t expect him to be this good, this fast.
??@LonKruger on the ? in the first week of practice. pic.twitter.com/o7BBU30Kb7
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) September 28, 2018
“We expected him to be a really good college player,” Kruger said. “We didn’t know how quickly, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.”
Manek may never reach the heights of his legendary doppleganger, but it’s a pretty good player to emulate.
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