WARSAW – Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball coach Greg Tonagel knew he needed a jewel of a player to be the centerpiece of his freshman class for next season.
He got that gem Monday.
Warsaw Community High School star Kyle Mangas made it official as he inked his national letter of intent to join the highly-successful Wildcat program.
Mangas, an Indiana All-Star hopeful, had made a verbal commitment to join the NAIA Division II perennial power last September.
On Monday afternoon, one of the best ever to don the orange and black signed to start the next chapter in what has been thus far a brilliant basketball story.
“We needed a Kyle Mangas type of player in this class,” said Tonagel, who just finished his 12th season at IWU last week. “He’s a heck of a player. He’s a program kid. Someone who we feel that we can build around.
“He fits who we are as a basketball program. He’s unselfish and hard working. We value intangibles and Kyle has great intangibles. The thing about Kyle is that he is a basketball player. That’s what we love about him. He is just a versatile guy who makes plays and who has a fearless mindset.”
IWU has been one of the remarkably successful programs in the outstanding Crossroads League, one of the country’s top small school conferences. The Wildcats have went 330-91 overall under Tonagel, including 157-47 in league play. IWU won the 2014 and 2016 NAIA Division II national championships and lost in the semifinals of the tournament last week.
Tonagel, who was a star guard himself at LaPorte High School and Valparaiso University, needed the kind of impact player he got in Mangas. The 6-3 Tiger star will be expected to step in and be a big time contributor from the get-go as the Wildcats graduated a pair of All-Americans and 2,000-point scorers in Lane Mahurin and Bob Peters.
“We need Kyle to come in do it from day one for us and we believe he can,” Tonagel remarked. “He’s proven he can do it for a great program like Warsaw. We love that he is coming to us from such a great program. He will be prepared we know that from playing for coach Ogle here at Warsaw. We think the sky’s the limit for him.”
Mangas, the Ink Free News Player of the Year the past two seasons, averaged 22.6 points-per-game this season. His 633 points this season were the fifth most in a single year in program history. He led the Tigers in virtually every statistical category and to a to an 18-10 mark and a second straight Class 4-A sectional title. Mangas also led his team to a third straight undefeated mark in Northern Lakes Conference play at 7-0, becoming the first program in league history to accomplish that feat.
“A tremendous basketball player and a mature, humble, hard-working person,” said Warsaw coach Doug Ogle in response to what the Wildcats were getting in his 6-3, 185-pound star. “If I were Greg Tonagel I would be thrilled to be getting Kyle Mangas and I know that he is. If I were Kyle Mangas I would be elated to be going to that program and I know that he is.”
“IWU did a good job recruiting Kyle. The level of play in the Crossroads League is very high.”
Mangas finished fourth in program history with 1,450 career points. He trails only Mr. Basketball winners Kevin Ault and Jeff Grose and runner-up Nic Moore on that impressive list. All three of those former Tiger greats were Indiana All-Stars. More recently, Tiger standouts Jordyn Coon starred at Bethel and Paul Marandet at Spring Arbor.
Mangas is much more than just a scorer though. He’s a clutch performer who is at his best at the big moments. He poured in a career-high 47 points in a 61-59 double overtime win over East Chicago Central in the regional semifinal game on March 11. That prolific output was also the top scoring effort in postseason hoops history for the Tiger program. He also hit the game winning bucket in the sectional final in 2016 to beat Elkhart Central and drained the winning trey at the final horn to down Northridge in the first-round of the sectional this year.
Simply put, he is a winner.
Warsaw went 60-16 in the three seasons that Mangas was a starter for the Tigers.
“Kyle is just fearless,” noted Ogle. “He does not back away. The bigger the game, the better he plays.”
Mangas, the youngest of two sons of Tim and Ann Mangas, is excited to be moving on to the next level of his hoops journey.
“This is just a really special day,” said Mangas Monday. “To know that coach Tonagel wants me in his program is awesome. It’s just a really good fit for me. I felt connected to the coaches there.”
“There are so many great players in the Crossroads League and I’m looking forward to that. I’m just really happy and ready for a new opportunity. I would not change anything.”
Mangas, who was a Junior All-Star in 2016, also excels in the classroom. He is ranked 30th in his class of 490 students with a 12.4 GPA (on a 12.0 scale) and was an Academic All-State First Team choice just last week. His father Tim was a standout basketball player at Wawasee High School and mother Ann, who is a teacher at Milford School, was a volleyball ace for the Warriors and a member of their state runner-up basketball team in 1985.
“I can’t thank my parents enough for all they have done for me,” said Mangas. “All the rebounding that my dad has done for me in the gym. All the coaching that he has given me and the criticism that he offered when I needed it. And my mom has always been there. Always supporting me.”