Tre Mann had a tremendous night on Thursday getting selected 18th in the NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
A majority of mock drafts by experts had Mann going more in the 23-28 range, so getting selected 18th was a pleasant surprise.
Mann was originally a five-star McDonald’s All-American out of high school, the kind of pedigree you often see from NBA draft picks. While he had high pedigree, his freshman season at Florida didn’t go exactly as planned. Mann struggled in an off-ball role, averaging 5.3 points and shooting a measly 27.5% from three. However, he didn’t let the tough start to college deter him from going hard in the gym and coming back like a brand new player in his sophomore season, averaging 16 points and 3.5 assists while hitting 40% from three. His story is one of perseverance and not allowing a tough start to his college career define the rest of his journey.
Mann’s skill set as a player who can create space and shoot off the dribble is one that is heavily sought after in the NBA. For guards to score at the highest level of the sport they need to be able to create shots with the dribble and that’s something he does as well as anyone in the draft. While Mann had a great sophomore year at Florida, there is definitely a chance he ends up having a better NBA career than a college career based on his style of play.
Oklahoma City is in a rebuild of epic proportions, having traded nearly all their key players for first round draft picks in the upcoming years. They do have one stud, former Kentucky guard (and Florida commit…) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who Mann will look great playing next in the backcourt. Given that the Thunder have traded away most of their quality vetern players, Mann will have a chance to play a lot of minutes right away, something that should be excellent for his development. Given that they have so many first round picks upcoming soon, they’ll soon be loaded with talent and could be an absolute force in 2024 or 2025 with Mann at the center of it.
As the 18th pick, Mann will have a guaranteed contract valued around $7.6 million over the next three seasons.
Mann is now the first draft pick in Mike White’s career as a coach. He is also the first Gator to be drafted since 2013 when Erik Murphy was taken in the second round. This is huge for the Florida basketball program who needs to be able to sell NBA development to future recruits.