Since arriving at Pitt, Jeff Capel has not been shy about going after elite high school prospects.
Up until this year, the Panthers weren’t successful in landing any of those targets but things changed when Capel received a commitment from 2022 point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, rated as the one of the top 30 sophomores in the country.
Now it appears Capel is trying to land an elite high school senior, although the deck might be stacked against him.
Karim Mane is a 2020 5-star point guard, originally from the Senegal, who currently attends Vanier College in Montreal, Quebec. Mane (6’5″, 195) is an elite basketball talent that could possibly bypass college and go directly to the NBA. Mane does very well academically at Vanier, is able to speak three languages and actually serves as a tutor to other athletes at Vanier.
As are most things in the world today, Mane’s future is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Because of the sudden shutdown of much of the country (in Canada and the US), Mane hasn’t been able to graduate high school yet, won’t be able to attend any pre-NBA Draft workouts and can’t make any official visits to prospective colleges.
Karim’s father, Moustapha Mane, tells me that the Pitt staff has been in touch with his family and, in fact, were in attendance for Karim’s last game before the season was canceled. I’m told that assistant coach Tim O’Toole was at the game.
Pittsburgh Sports Now had a chance to talk on the phone Tuesday afternoon with Moustapha, to gain some insight into his son’s process and what his future might hold.
“He was going to make a visit to Pitt but with the Covid-19 situation, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Mr. Mane tells Pittsburgh Sports Now. “We honestly don’t know, everything is on ice. Things are just very complicated.”
“The decision right now is what college to choose or if their is an opportunity in the pro level. That will depend on the feedback from the pros but also what colleges are interested. We are keeping all options open.”
At this point, Mr. Mane tells PSN that his son is receiving the most interest from Pitt, Michigan State, Marquette, George Washington, Memphis, Alabama, Wake Forest and San Francisco but no definitive decisions have been made on any official visits. It should be mentioned that Mane unofficially visited Maryland as a junior and made an official visit to Marquette this season. Another school that’s mentioned as a possibility is Michigan State because of the graduation of senior point guard Cassius Winston.
I asked Mr. Mane about Pitt and what the conversations have been like with the Pitt staff.
“Pitt was here for what turned out to be Karim’s last game in the province. We had some good conversations. According to Pitt, Karim has a playing style that would fit perfectly with their team in Pittsburgh. Aside from his offense, they also believe that Karm has a lot of great abilities defensively as well.”
“His position has not been determined yet but basically, I believe a good player should be able to play multiple positions and play them well. It’s a team game so that if you are needed at another position because of injury for example, you should do it. It’s teamwork.”
Like many around the world, the Mane family will stay home and wait until restrictions are lifted in order to see what the future holds for this talented player.