Projected first-round draft pick Tre Mann discussed his time at Florida, player comparisons, draft range, and career goals. Mann also shared his thoughts on what the NCAA’s new policy on players benefiting from their likeness will mean for future prospects in an interview with HoopsHype.
What’s something people don’t know about you off the court?
Tre Mann: The type of person I am. On the court, I kind of don’t really show a lot of emotion. I keep a poker face. Off the court, I’m a good dude to be around, and I like to have fun. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I joke and laugh a lot.
You can shoot the ball. Were there any shooters or players that you watched growing up that you tried to emulate your game after?
TM: My dad’s favorite player was Michael Jordan, so I watched him a lot. As I grew up and got older, I started picking my own players to watch. One of them was Stephen Curry. I like the way he moves and creates his shots. He creates space for himself and creates for his teammates. I like how crafty he is. I feel like I have a similar type of game. I also watched Tremont Waters when he was in high school and college.
What did playing at Florida do for your game and you as a person?
TM: I felt like I was in the perfect situation. In my second year, I had the role of being the main point guard and primary ball-handler. It helped me become a better point guard and see the game from that position. I was also able to lead a team as a sophomore and a group of older guys.
When did you realize you could be an NBA player?
TM: I always had that thought I would do it. I would say it was going into my senior year. In my junior year of high school. That summer, playing AAU, I have to say that was the time where I felt I could make the league because I grew a little bit, and I was a pretty good size for a point guard. I played well that season, started getting offers from everywhere, and was invited to the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic. It hit me then that I could actually do it.
Where do you think you rank against the other guards in this draft class?
TM: I think I’m the best guard in the draft, top-five for sure.
When evaluating your game, what are your strengths and weaknesses?
TM: My strengths are my ability to create for myself and my teammates, my craftiness, and my ability to shoot off the dribble on the three-point line or a couple of steps behind the line. The weaknesses that I think I need to work on are the simpler plays, like making the simple reads out of the ball screens and trying to make the game as easy as possible.
Which NBA players would you compare yourself to that are playing now or retired?
TM: I would say I’m like Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Steph Curry, Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Garland. My game is in between a mix of all of those guys.
What are your long-term goals?
TM: I want to be an All-Star one day. I want to play and compete for a championship. I want to win a ring. I want to be in the MVP race. Things like that. I’m pretty sure everybody has those same dreams and goals.
Have you talked with your camp about where you think your draft range is now?
TM: They said it’s from 16 to 25, maybe.
How do you feel about going into the draft? Are you looking for a certain system? What’s your mindset?
TM: It was to go as high as possible for me, but as I got closer to the draft and worked out with the teams and everything and sat down and thought about what I want, I want to be in a good system that fits my game that I can go be me and elevate my game.
Why should a team select you with their draft pick?
TM: Just my unique game and the things I can bring to the table. I can create for myself and my teammates. I feel like I could be on the court on both sides on offense and defense, and just my winning mentality and work ethic.
What are you most looking forward to in the NBA?
TM: Just being there. All the games, practices, everything. Hearing my name drafted. It’s everything about the league I’ve been waiting on and dreaming about.
What will you do with your first paycheck?
TM: Hopefully, I can do something to save it and invest and then have fun later down the road when I get a little more money.
What’s been your favorite moment of your career so far?
TM: Probably college. They say college is your best time and that’s where you have the most fun. I have to agree with that. It was fun building relationships with the coaches, my teammates, and the guys around the campus. That whole season I felt like I played pretty good, we won a good amount of games, and the experience of going to March Madness and playing on that big stage would be the best moments of my career so far.
How do you feel about the NBA allowing NCAA players to benefit from their likeness?
TM: I think that’s good. I was happy that they finally let that rule be. I think it would’ve helped me out a lot in college as far as money and things like that. I think it’s going to help the colleges more than they thought with guys staying. I wish it was there when I was in college. I feel like I would’ve had a good amount of endorsements and things like that.
What do you think it means for younger kids? We’ve seen some guys go to the G League or overseas.
TM: I think it’s a little bit of pressure taken off some guys who felt like they needed to hurry up and make money. That’s why I feel like some people go to the G League or rush to be in the NBA because of the pressure of having money. I’m not sure of everyone’s situation, but I know having a little bit of money would help out. I think it would just take some pressure off guys who need the money and whose family needs the money.