Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

November 9, 2012

Danny Manning era begins at Tulsa

TULSA — When it comes to basketball, Danny Manning has done it all.

As a player, he experienced the best there is as an NCAA champion at Kansas and an NBA All-Star with the Los Angeles Clippers. He understands the worst there is, with three serious knee injuries that forced him to find ways to stay competitive without the same athleticism and sparked an interest in coaching.

Back at his alma mater, he started off in operations and steadily moved up the food chain until he was an assistant coach on another team that cut down the nets.

And now, he's ready to begin another endeavor - his first chance to be a head coach.

Hired this April by a middling Tulsa program hungry to return to the NCAA tournament, Manning makes his debut Sunday when the Golden Hurricane host LSU-Shreveport. It's another big step in a steady decade-long progression for Manning.

"I thought it was very important for me to know how everything worked from the ground up, and there's no better way of knowing what happens on the ground level than being there and working it, and working my way up,'' Manning said.

"I think it's something that benefits me each and every day.''

Manning, 46, has spent the past seven months molding a team that was largely shapeless when he took over.

Three players, including leading scorer Jordan Clarkson, transferred out of the program after predecessor Doug Wojcik was fired following six straight winning seasons but no NCAA tournament appearances.

Three others graduated and starting forward Kodi Maduka gave up the sport for medical reasons after he collapsed during a pickup game the same day Manning was hired in April.

That put Manning in a position to bring in seven newcomers to mix with the three players left on the roster with college experience - starting guard Scottie Haralson, part-time starter Tim Peete and reserve Rashad Smith.

"It's new to everybody,'' Manning said. "Your seniors don't know any more than the freshmen, and so you don't have anybody teaching and showing guys how to do things because nobody knows. That's been the roughest part.''

With so much change, Manning was thankful he was able to get a head start because of a new NCAA rule allowing coaches 2 hours of workouts per week with their players and a foreign exhibition tour to Canada.

Still, there's plenty of work to do to instill his own unique brand of basketball at Tulsa.

"I'm not smart enough to say that I invented anything or came up with anything. We all borrow as coaches, we all borrow as players and we tweak and we work it to the best of our ability with the team that we have,'' Manning said.

"I would like to think that you see our team and you say, `These guys come out here and they work hard.' That's what I want you to say when you see them on the court. I think when you see them off the floor, we want you to see how good of young men they are.''

Manning has instituted an aggressive, pressing defense and during exhibition play deployed all the youthful players on his bench to keep it going. In the second preseason game, the Golden Hurricane amassed 113 points - their most in exhibition play since 1993.

"We want to be a team that establishes tempo, that create tempo, and we want to be in attack mode,'' Manning said.

"We want to have the reputation of when somebody sees Tulsa coming in the gym and just goes, `Oh boy, here they come,''' he added. "And not because they're so much more talented than you. It's because they're going to play hard the whole game.''

Manning's head coaching debut comes 10 years after his final NBA season with the Dallas Mavericks. But it was another life-changing event that propelled him to Tulsa.

"The one thing that really opened my eyes, for me, was when my father passed away a couple years ago, not wanting to put my aspirations on hold thinking that tomorrow is promised and it's not,'' Manning said.

"At that point, it was one of those situations for me, if I want to get past this hurdle in terms of being a head coach and running my own program and make it happen as soon as possible.''

After his father, Ed, passed away in March 2011, Manning worked with his boss, Bill Self, and other assistants on the Kansas staff with head coaching experience to build a portfolio and what he called a "blueprint to a championship program.'' It was all ready when Tulsa athletic director Ross Parmley pursued him during last season's NCAA tournament.

It includes a life skills component intended to prepare his players to be husbands, fathers, friends and providers for their families after basketball.

Ex-Tulsa star Shea Seals is in charge of the program, including etiquette and financial planning sessions and visits from former players, policemen and military representatives.

"There's so many talented athletes that are so immersed in what they're doing at that present time that their sport becomes who they are, and it's not who they are, it's what you do,'' Manning said.

"Who you are goes back to the characteristics that you have as a person, and that's what we want to stress.''

Although basketball has provided Manning careers as a player and a coach, he understands that not every college player will follow that path - and he hopes to connect with them all.

"I'm very comfortable when I recruit a young man that I've been on a team where I've been called upon to score points or be a star, I've been a starter, I've been a sixth man, I've been a role guy, I've been a rotation guy, I've been on the injured list. I haven't played,'' he said. "There's not a role that I can't relate to that a player has on our team.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOFTBALL: OSU drops series finale to Baylor

    Four home runs, including two by Jordan Strickland, were too much for Oklahoma State as the Cowgirls dropped the final contest of the three-game series to No. 14 Baylor 8-0 in six innings here Saturday afternoon in Big 12 softball action at Cowgirl Stadium.

    April 20, 2014

  • BASEBALL: OSU rallies past Kansas, 5-3

    Oklahoma State rallied for its 16th come-from-behind win Saturday as the No. 13 Cowboys defeated Kansas, 5-3, to secure a series win at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

    With the victory, OSU clinched its fourth-straight Big 12 Conference series win and maintained its spot atop the league standings, improving to 10-4. The Cowboys are now 28-11 overall.

    April 20, 2014