Phoenix Pinnacle senior point guard Nico Mannion cut his college list to four on Saturday, announcing it on Instagram and Twitter.

They are Arizona, Marquette, Villanova and Duke.


Earlier this summer, Mannion, 6-foot-3, The Arizona Republic’s 2017-18 Basketball Player of the Year, announced he was reclassifying from 2020 to 2019.

Mannion still has to visit the four colleges before making his decision. Pace Mannion, his dad, said there is no time frame to when he will announce.

Adding to list

Instead of cutting down his list to five finalists Wednesday, Nico Mannion actually added a couple.

They’re big hitters, too: Kentucky and North Carolina.

“North Carolina did call, Kentucky called,” the five-star point guard from Phoenix said Wednesday at the Under Armour Association Finals. “I didn’t get to talk to Roy (Williams, UNC coach) but my dad talked to him. I talked to (Kentucky coach John) Calipari twice in the last week.”

Both Kentucky and North Carolina jumped in as word spread that Mannion was moving up to the class of 2019 over the summer, a reclassification he announced last week.

That’s probably not good news for Arizona, although the Wildcats have impressed the Pinnacle High School star during several unofficial visits, including last season’s Red-Blue Game and regular-season games against UConn and UCLA.

“I’ve been there quite a few times,” Mannion said. “The environment is great. Even the Red-Blue Game is just a scrimmage and a dunk contest but it’s sold out. There’s not much you can say about it — it’s just a great environment.”

Mannion said he’s planning to cut his list down sometime after the July evaluation period ends this weekend and then start scheduling visits. But he said he isn’t planning to make a commitment until January or February because he wants to take official visits during the season in order to get a feel for the regular-season environment.

Mannion said he thinks Arizona might change to a more perimeter-oriented, faster style next season and that he is curious to see how it plays out.

“I want to watch them play and see how their style changes, if it changes,” Mannion said, and “see who they recruit, who’s coming in and who’s staying and stuff like that.”

Mannion helped the West Coast Elite beat the Atlanta Xpress 79-71 on Wednesday despite not having teammate Josh Green, another five-star Arizona target.

It’s official: Mannion reclassifies

July 20, 2018

What everybody knew was coming, Phoenix Pinnacle guard Nico Mannion made official Friday when he told 247Sports that he is reclassifying to the 2019 class.

He was ranked 19th overall in the country in the 2020 class by 247Sports but on Friday, he checked in at No. 17 on the 2019 list.

Mannion (6-3) the azcentral sports Player of the Year, had been working towards reclassifying for a year.

Pinnacle coach Charlie Wilde told azcentral sports in May that Mannion that it had been discussed since his freshman year.

He led Pinnacle to its first 6A state basketball championship last season.

Pace Mannion, Nico’s dad, told azcentral sports in May that this would be his last club circuit. He is currently playing in a tournament in California for West Coast Elite. Pace said then his son was taking online courses in order to graduate in 2019.

Mannion announced his top 10 college choices back on June 4, with the Arizona Wildcats among them.

Announcement coming

June 29, 2018

Phoenix Pinnacle point guard Nico Mannion, who has spent June in Italy playing for the men’s national team, posted on Twitter on Friday that he will be making a “huge  announcement” on July 20 at the Elite 100.

It’s likely he is referring to his reclassification from 2020 to 2019.

Mannion, who plays for West Coast Elite in the club circuit, is in the process of reclassifying, which would speed up his recruiting timeline. Arizona, Duke and Villanova are among his final 10 colleges.

Before he left for Italy last month, his dad, Pace Mannion, said that this would be his son’s final club circuit. Nico has been taking online courses to reclassify. Pace also said he wanted his son to visit Villanova and Duke before he makes a college decision.

It’s no secret that Mannion has been working to graduate in 2019.

Pinnacle coach Charlie Wilde said last month that the possibility is something that was discussed since his freshman year.

“Our counselors have helped him with the process,” Wilde said a month ago. “We always want what is best for all our players.”

Wildcats make cut

June 4, 2018

Arizona has made the top 10 list of colleges for Pinnacle point guard Nico Mannion, considered one of the best players in the 2019 class.

Mannion, who is leaving high school a year early, is currently in Italy training with the men’s national team with hopes of playing in the 2020 Olympics.

Mannion to reclassify for 2019

Nico Mannion has always been on a basketball fast track, but this summer the Phoenix Pinnacle point guard is accelerating the process.

The 6-foot-2 point guard, who led Pinnacle to its first state basketball championship last season, is spending June in Italy, playing for the men’s national team with hopes of playing in future Olympics with the Italians.

In the meantime, he is taking online classes to finish his high school academic requirements a year early and reclassify to 2019.

While playing for West Coast Elite in the spring, Mannion, who is among the eight finalists for the azcentral sports Basketball Player of the Year that will be announced June 10, picked up offers from national champion Villanova and Duke.

MORE: Pinnacle’s Nico Mannion named Gatorade Arizona Basketball POY

“I think when I get back, playing in club and playing in high school, I don’t want to say it’s going to be easier for me, but the game will slow down and I’ll be able to see things on the court better,” Mannion said.

Mannion, whose jumping, shooting and passing abilities set him apart from most of his peers, declined an offer with USA Basketball, opting for Italy, where he will practice from June 10-15 in Rome at the Olympic Training Center with the national team.

The team will then conduct workouts from June 20-27 in Triesta, near Yugoslavia, before playing in the first of two World Cup games on June 29 against Croatia. It will play another World Cup game on July 1 against Holland.

The Olympics aren’t until 2020, and it isn’t a given Italy will qualify, but Mannion, who has Italian and American citizenships, envisions himself being part of Italian teams that compete for future Olympics.

“That will be big for me,” Mannion said about practicing with the Italian men’s team in June. “I can learn from guys who are veterans in the league, playing a different style of basketball. It’s a physical style but it’s still pretty fast-paced.”

Once Mannion plays in the World Cup on June 28, he can’t compete for USA in future Olympics.

“That’s why they want him to come now,” said Pace Mannion, Nico’s father. “They don’t know if they’ll qualify for 2020 but he’ll be ready for that in 2024.”

Mannion was born in Italy. His mom, Gaia Bianchi, played volleyball on Italy’s natonal team. She grew up in Rome and married Pace Mannion, a former Utah college basketball standout who played six years in the NBA and 13 seasons in Italy.

RELATED: Arizona’s Top 50 high school boys basketball players of all-time

Nico knows the culture, speaks the language, and experienced the competition.

“He got a good taste of it last summer with the 16s (in Italy),” Pace said. “The game will be faster and more physical with the older guys. I don’t think the speed will bother him. They’re pretty physical. They let the guards bang. They bang hard, slap hard.

“It’s the best thing going for him. He gets five days of practice and a four-day break to really digest it all. He’ll be the youngest guy on the team. That was our discussion going to Italy. He is looking  at long-term growth. Which would be better? That was a question he was going to answer on his own.”

Pace said this will be Nico’s last July on the club circuit, but he doesn’t believe Nico will make his college decision until the end of next high school season. He said Nico wants to make some visits, including both Villanova and Duke, before making a decision.

Pinnacle coach Charlie Wilde has been supportive of Mannion every step of the way in his process.

He said Nico taking classes to reclassify has been something discussed since his freshman year.

“Our counselors have helped him with the process,” Wilde said. “We always want what is best for all our players.

“Nico works unbelievably hard and is improving everyday.  I believe his Italy experience will only help him improve even more.”


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Duke offers

Phoenix Pinnacle 2020 point guard Nico Mannion’s recruiting continues to ramp up after spring basketball shoe showcases.

This time he received an offer from Duke, where former Tempe Corona del Sol forward Marvin Bagley III made first-team All-American as a freshman last season.

Mannion’s stock has steadily risen since the eighth grade. He led Pinnacle to its first 6A basketball state championship last season.

He played this spring in national showcases for West Coast Elite.

“This solidifies how much effort and dedication he has put into his game,” Pinnacle coach Charlie Wilde said. “This also is a testament the type of person he is.”

Villanova offers

Phoenix Pinnacle sophomore point guard Nico Mannion picked up an offer Monday from national champion Villanova.

Mannion lead Pinnacle to its first 6A boys basketball state championship last season. He is one of eight finalists for azcentral sports’ Player of the Year.

He was the Gatorade Arizona Basketball Player of the Year.

Offers picking up

Nico Mannion is next to hop on the Arizona high school basketball express lane.

The 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard picked up a Kansas offer recently to go with offers he already has from Arizona, Arizona State, Cal State Northridge, Grand Canyon, Marquette, Oregon, Stanford, St. John’s, UCLA, Utah, Washington, UC Santa Barbara, USC, San Francisco and Tulane.

After not making the USA Under 16 team this summer, Mannion joined Italy after that country reached out to him to play in the FIBA U16 European Championship this month. He ended up being the tournament’s top scorer, averaging 19.9 points and leading Italy to a 5-2 record.

Mannion is the son of former NBA and Utah Utes forward Pace Mannion. Nico’s mom, Gaia, grew up in Italy, starring in volleyball.

“His parents do a wonderful job of keeping Nico focused and humble,” Pinnacle coach Charlie Wilde said. “He is very grounded and understands he is fortunate to have these offers.”

With the trend leaning towards elite, bright players like Mannion leaving high school early, will he be next?

Former Tempe Corona del Sol forward Marvin Bagley III reclassified from 2018 to 2017 and is now at Duke after playing only two high schools seasons, earning Player of the Year in two states — in Arizona as a freshman and in California last season while at Chatsworth Sierra Canyon.

Guard Markus Howard, who was All-Arizona in his only two seasons in the state, playing his freshman and sophomores year at Gilbert Perry, reclassified while at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep from 2017 to 2016 and helped lead Marquette to the NCAA Tournament last season as a freshman.

RELATED: Arizona’s best high school boys basketball programs, ranked by titles

RELATED: Arizona’s best high school boys basketball coaches, ranked by titles 

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