Karim Mane's future still uncertain due to COVID-19

AaronRose

Karim Mane could have gone to CEGEP at Champlain or Édouard-MontPetit. In many ways going there would have been easier choice considering the 19-year-old Mane lives in the Longueuil, Quebec, right around the corner from those schools. But that's not how Mane thinks.

Instead the 6-foot-4 guard — ranked as a five star prospects by both 247Sports and Rivals — is patient. It doesn't bother him that Vanier College is a two hour commute each way to and from his house. He was determined to play for the Cheetahs because he knows it's what's best for his basketball future.

Lately, that kind patience and determination has come in handy.

While the NCAA recruiting world has continued largely without hiccup despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mane is in no hurry to make a decision regarding his future.

"It's unfortunate that everything that has happened happened, but I'm just glad that I'm in the position I'm in today," Mane said. "I have a lot of options for NCAA schools and I'm glad I put myself in this position. ... I'm not really stressed or anything."

The biggest disruption for Mane has been the stoppage of all official NCAA recruiting visits and the closure of the Canada-U.S. border. He was planning on visiting a few more universities this spring after his Vanier basketball season ended. Most notable among those visits, according to Mane, was supposed to be his trip to Lansing, Michigan, where he had planned to check out Michigan State.

"I think that probably would have been his last visit," Vanier College basketball coach Andy Hertzog said.

Though Mane remains steadfast in his desire to visit the programs, he and Hertzog have discussed the possibility of committing to a university without setting foot on campus.

"What's important for me an my family is just to take a visit, visit the school and get to see the facility in person and everything before making a decision, we're kind of set on that right now," Mane said. "Eventually if the situation forces us to make a decision without visiting, than I'll probably have to talk to my parents about it again."

Mane's patience could create a bit of a problem for him if one of his desired programs decides it can't wait any longer and opts to recruit over him, either by taking another uncommitted high school prospect or by looking into the transfer portal.

That's a possibility not lost on Mane, but one he's not too worried about.

"There's not really been any pressure," he said. "That subject has been brought up by the coaches, but they respect my decision. They've put themselves in my shoes and they respect my timeline and everything."

It'll be up to the college programs to decide if they want to wait for Mane, who is considered one of the most highly touted prospects to ever come out of Quebec.

In his three years at Vanier, Mane has seen his scoring average jump from 8 points per game to 15.9 this past year. 

"In his first year with us he shot 20% from 3," Hertzog said. "There was nothing particularly wrong with his shot, we made a few minor tweaks, but it was just a question of consistency. But I told him, 'Karim, if you can become a consistent 3-point shooter you're unguardable,' and he spent so much time with the shooting machine that I told him he had to name it because it was officially his girlfriend."

Between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Mane's 3-point shooting percentage jumped from 19% to 37%. And though it took a dip this season, when he shot 21% from behind the arc, Vanier assistant coach Feras Saaida said he isn't too worried about Mane fixing that problem.

"He has the work ethic, he has all the physical tools," Saaida said. "Once he gets that (3-point shooting) done, I think he'll be really good if he's physically healthy."

From a scout's point of view, Mane is the kind of prospect Canadians will want to keep an eye on.

"He is maybe the most fluid athlete I’ve scouted in Canada," said Wesley Brown, a Canadian basketball scout and president of The Monday Morning Scouting Report. "With some refinement in college there’s no limit to how good he can be."

Correction: April 8, 2020

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Mane's scoring average. He averaged 8.1 points per game in his freshman year and 15.9 in his junior season.

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