Players in Review: Jackie Manuel

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Every good team needs a defensive stopper on the perimeter. Just ask the 2005 NCAA champion North Carolina Tar Heels. That team, which included four first-round NBA draft picks (Marvin Williams, Sean May, Raymond Felton, and Rashad McCants) also had Jackie Manuel.

He was the man charged with the task of defending the other team’s best wing player, and he played a similar role for the BayHawks this season. Manuel started all 47 games he played in for Erie, averaging better than 9 points and 7 rebound per game.

But defense remains his calling card. His 57 blocked shots led the team, and he was the only BayHawk to average more than one steal (1.34) and one block (1.21) per game. Factor in the intangible benefits of his on-the-ball and help-defense instincts, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to label Manuel as the Defensive MVP of this BayHawks team.

As a defensive stopper in the mold of Bruce Bowen, it’s clear what Manuel needs to do to take his game to the next level. He needs to improve his 3-point shooting. Bowen was a maligned shooter early in his career, but he went on to lead the league in 3-point percentage in 2003 as a member of a Spurs team that won the NBA title.
Manuel converted on just 27.3 percent of his 3-point attempts this season. He has the athleticism and defensive ability to play on the big stage, but it won’t happen if he doesn’t improve his outside shot. If he can do that, perhaps his career will model Bowen’s, who is in his 13th year in the league.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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