WARSAW – It’s as easy to see why Doug Ogle calls him a joy to coach as it is difficult to stop Kyle Mangas on the hardwood.
The Warsaw basketball star is humble, polite and team-oriented.
The junior guard, by the way, also happens to be one of the top prep players in the area too.
Mangas is off to a stellar start this season in pacing the Tigers to a perfect 8-0 start. The 6-3 backcourt ace is not surprised by the success of his team after they put together an outstanding summer.
“We expected to have a good start to this season,” said Mangas following practice Tuesday. “We had a really good summer (losing just one game) and we knew we could be good. We have a lot of confidence as a team.
“The thing is that we have had different guys stepping up for us. I feel confident in this team and also in myself individually as well. I just try to go into every game staying humble.”
Mangas has definitely stepped his game up this season. He led the Tigers in scoring a year ago at 11.8 points-per-game, but has done much more this year with the loss of five seniors from that team that finished 18-5 overall and went 7-0 to win the Northern Lakes Conference championship. Mangas is averaging 19.8 points-per-game while shooting 55 percent overall from the field and 81 percent at the free throw line. He leads the Tigers in rebounding at 4.8 per game, in steals with 16 and ranks second in assists with 26 and in 3-pointers with 11.
Mangas, who sports the wingspan of a player 6-8 thanks to his long arms, has improved his game tremendously in terms of finishing in transition and passing from a year ago. He has already dunked a handful of times in games, including an impressive monster throw down on a 6-8 Columbia City player in a 52-51 double-overtime win over the host Eagles back on Nov. 28.
“I feel like I’m a better player this year than last,” noted Mangas modestly. “I feel stronger and more comfortable finishing plays inside. I have to thank my Dad (Tim) for all the help he’s given me.”
Ogle sees a simple, yet key, area that has led to a much-improved Mangas.
“The biggest improvement by Kyle from last year is in his ball handling skills,” said Ogle. “That has allowed him to become a much better passer. He’s a dangerous passer now when he’s driving the ball. The thing is that when your two best players (as in Kyle and Paul Marandet) are your best and willing passers that makes us so much tougher to defend as a team.”
Mangas and running mate Paul Marandet, one of three seniors for the Tigers, are a handful for foes to try and handle in the backcourt.
“The thing is that Paul and I know how each other likes to play and we complement each other,” Mangas explained. “We put each other in good situations. I think that both of us have a high basketball IQ and Paul is just such a dependable player. He may be under the radar, but he does all the little things for us.
“Paul and I know that teams will be keying on us so it’s easier to find the open guy. We like to play team ball and I know both of us have a lot of confidence in all the guys on this team. Guys like Evan (Schmidt) and Ross (Johnson) have stepped up in games and made a lot of big shots for us.”
Mangas, who played with the Indiana Elite AAU team out of Indianapolis in the offseason, just comes to work every day according to his coach.
“Kyle is as hard a worker as anyone we’ve had here,” said Ogle, owner of a 201-99 mark in his 14th season as the Warsaw head coach. “I just love humble people and that’s Kyle big time. You can tell that he has had a good upbringing and was raised to work at things.
“He’s a smart basketball player and has a high ceiling because of his work ethic. I think that he’s a very strong, legitimate Junior All-Star candidate this season. He’s also just a joy for me to coach.”
Mangas’ father Tim played at Wawasee High School and at DePauw University and his mother Ann teaches at Milford Elementary School. Older brother Jake, who played both basketball and football at WCHS, is a freshman at IU enrolled in the prestigious Kelley School of Business.
Mangas, for his part, prefers to let his game do the talking for him.
“It’s how I was raised,” said Mangas of his soft-spoken demeanor and team first approach. “No showboating. It’s act like you have been there before.”
It’s a refreshing act for sure that is playing to rave reviews for this outstanding young man.