Photo provided by Indiana Wesleyan Athletics

Warsaw Commnity High School alumni Kyle Mangas puts up a jump shot in a game for Indiana Wesleyan, where he just completed a stellar collegiate career. Mangas has opportunities to play professionally, and has had tryouts with three NBA teams, including the Indiana Pacers.
Photo provided by Indiana Wesleyan Athletics Warsaw Commnity High School alumni Kyle Mangas puts up a jump shot in a game for Indiana Wesleyan, where he just completed a stellar collegiate career. Mangas has opportunities to play professionally, and has had tryouts with three NBA teams, including the Indiana Pacers.
The NBA Finals are running about three weeks later due to the pandemic-driven revisions to the 2021 schedule. This isn’t stopping teams whose seasons have ended from their routines of summer tryouts.

This year’s NBA summer tryouts have some local color to them. Warsaw basketball standout, Kyle Mangas, whose college career at NAIA program Indiana Wesleyan was even more impressive than his days with the orange and black, is NBA draft eligible, and he already has three teams’ tryouts under his belt.

Mangas recently completed tryouts for the NBA’s Cleveland cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, and – even closer to home – the Indiana Pacers.

The 6’4” 210-pound 4.0 GPA graduate, who would create a buzz among businesses seeking his skills, is currently taking interviews among NBA teams. 20- to 30-minute interviews with each team’s front office are part of the process accompanying on-court tryouts.

“(They’re) asking more about (your character), about your journey, your strengths, what you think about certain things. I got to talk to a sports psychologist in Detroit,” Mangas remarked about the process. “They really like to get to know you more. There really hasn’t been a lot of basketball IQ questions.”

Mangas not only impressed coaches, fans, and teammates with his on-court prowess. He also was a model for his teammates in off-court character. He models the whole-person concept: student, athlete, son, citizen.

If character and smarts are part of the opportunity to earn a call-back from his NBA tryouts, Mangas will pass with flying colors.

He’s no slouch on the court, either.

It’s a battle on the court, and Mangas can play with length, he has worked hard in the weight room during the offseason gaining about ten very good pounds, and he shoots even better than his days as a Warsaw Tiger.

“I think I shot the ball well,” the four-time Crossroads League Player of the year and two-time Bevo Francis Award winner said. “At this level there is so much more length, size, and speed.”

His comment about the talent attributes were not said out of awe, nor an excuse for the possible tryout outcomes. The tone was, instead, respectful.

Mangas isn’t sitting on the front porch waiting for a call. He is still playing basketball, including a run at a $1 million purse at the TBT Tournament hosted by The Ohio State University in the first round (July 23-27), and the University of Dayton for the second round the following week.

Mangas, who is currently staying in Indianapolis, will play for the Men of Mackey, a group of Purdue University basketball alumni who invited Mangas to join them. Only one other player who was not a Boilermaker comprises part of the team.

In the meantime, the value of the experience, and the rare opportunity among NAIA players to get an NBA tryout invitation are not lost on Mangas.

“I was happy with how I played,” the 2017 Warsaw grad said.  “It was (also) a great experience. Growing up and watching NBA games. It was a dream being part of it.”

The NBA isn’t the only professional basketball league seeking prospects fresh out of the college ranks.

“It all happens, overseas and the NBA’s G-league are all happening at the same time,” Mangas commented. “They’re all signing people now through the end of August. It’s a crazy process. That’s why you have an agent to keep things organized.”

The agent Mangas spoke of is Jeff Potter, one of the original founders of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the aforementioned G-League. Potter now represents basketball players utilizing his strong NBA and G-League connections and his excellent communication and follow-up skills in his current role as an agent.

“We went (with) someone we could trust, a good communicator with good connections,” Mangas said. “I chose Jeff Potter as my agent because he was close, and I was able to see him every day for the past five weeks. It’s not just over the phone. The relationship aspect was pretty important to me.”

Daily in-person interaction is golden in our current culture where most human beings have the convenience of cancelling or putting off meetings and events using their two thumbs on the smart phone keyboard.

“He’s been the driving force in lining up these workouts,” Mangas continued

Mangas was impressed with the facilities among the three NBA franchises recently evaluating his on-court skills and off-court character.

“A lot of the NBA players have left the cities where they play,” he said about the activity among the teams’ sites. “I didn’t see any Pacers, but I saw a couple of Cavs. The coaches are there obviously for the tryouts. The facilities are excellent: training, nutrition, recovery. They have it all. It was great to see it all, and (to) use it.”

Mangas said, with relief, he did not have to use the recovery facility.

“I’ll always remember Warsaw and the support of the fan base,” Mangas said in his parting remarks. “Warsaw has such a strong basketball community. I’ve always remembered where I came from. I still go back on weekends. I love the place. I love the people.”

2011 Warsaw graduate Nic Moore, a standout point guard at Illinois State University before transferring to Southern Methodist University under the tutelage of coaching legend Larry Brown, might be joined by the likes of Mangas soon.

Moore played professionally overseas following his college career.

Mangas, in the meantime, is still in the running for a slot on an NBA team, and he’ll likely be pursued by the G-League and overseas professional leagues in the compressed summer rush to fill their respective rosters.

In the meantime, it’s exciting for Warsaw basketball fans to have some local color once again in the NBA tryout process.