I’m not going to lie: I was a little skeptical of Ezra Manjon coming in from UC Davis to take the reins at point guard from Scotty Pippen Jr. And through about mid-December, that skepticism looked completely warranted, too: the offense looked completely rudderless early in the season, culminating in the loss to Grambling on December 9. To that point, Manjon was averaging 6.4 ppg and had 34 assists and 19 turnovers.
Those numbers weren’t terrible, but they also weren’t reflective of what he would become. In SEC play, Manjon averaged 4.4 assists and 0.9 turnovers per game. He went four games without committing a turnover — incredible for a point guard. In conference games, he ranked 2nd in the SEC in assist rate and 4th in turnover rate. And he posted a 118.2 Offensive Rating.
That’s a pretty big jump for a guy who posted a 94.6 Offensive Rating last season at UC Davis. But I also thought that, perhaps, his performance at UC Davis was reflective of playing for a team that was asking him to do too much, and where his efficiency suffered from being surrounded by few offensive threats. That actually seems like the best explanation: playing on a team where he could defer to Tyrin Lawrence and Liam Robbins, instead of a team on which he was the first scoring option in addition to the offense’s facilitator, made a big difference.
(Somehow, UC Davis was better without him, too. I don’t get it, either.)
Anyway, with Manjon and Lawrence both returning next season, Vanderbilt could have one of the SEC’s best backcourts. But also like Lawrence, the slow start to the season prevents a Grade A.
(And, the basketball player report cards are now finished. What now?)