Posted On: 11/28/18 7:46 PM

One of the next big things in Kansas City hoops, Grandview rising freshman Taj Manning is already drawing interest from college programs.

A 6’6 wing player, Manning likes to play inside out whether it’s in the post or on the wing. 

Although he has yet to play his first high school game, Manning already holds an offer from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and has been in contact with both Missouri State and Mizzou.

Manning is coming off a big offseason as he turned heads on the grassroots circuit playing with Power Elite, a program he says he started playing with in fifth grade.

“I built a strong brotherhood with those guys,” he says. “I feel it prepared by getting use to playing older stronger guys because we rarely played our age especially in the eighth grade season we played in a lot of showcase tournaments for college coaches which is how I got my first offer.”

Manning says he spent the offseason focused on improving his perimeter shooting touch.

“A major area  of my game improved on is 3-point shooting and I’ve been hitting a lot in practice and summer/ fall league games and I feel I can be a big threat out there,” he says.

Despite losing several key seniors from last year’s Class 4 state championship team, including guards Jordan Lathon, Mason Taylor and Michael Nweke, Grandview has high expectations this season with terrific returning guard play in DeAndre Sorrells and and one of the state’s most talented front courts in Manning, 6’6 2019 forward Kamto Eze and 6’6 2019 forward Jermaine Yarbough.

“Grandview basketball team is looking very strong this year we had seven people from our state championship team last year return and we have great size and guards,” Manning said. “With have a great chance of going back to back this year.”

Manning says his dad, Loren Manning, has had the biggest influence on his basketball career to date.

“There’s so many people but when I narrow it down it would have to be my dad who constantly gets me in the gym and gives me constructive criticism on my game to get me better,” Manning said. “Also my previous coach from Power Elite, Allen Skeens he’s put me and my old team on high stages but also taught us the value of team work and fundamental basketball and who pushed us to get the best out of us he really shaped me up as a player on and off the court.”

A fan of Milwuakee Bucks’ forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Manning says he appreciates the energy and motor he brings to a game.