Jason Manwaring reached 1,000 career points last week, the sixth Williamstown High School boys basketball player to reach the milestone, according to an online list compiled by the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association.
An injury scare, however, nearly cost the 6-foot-1 lanky forward a chance at the career mark this winter.
Manwaring, a junior, has battled a fracture in his right foot, an injury that will require surgery after the season. Given the OK by his doctors to continue to play — unless the pain becomes too great — Manwaring has battled through the discomfort, averaging 18.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game for the 11-0 and Division III defending champion Blue Devils.
“A piece of bone broke off in between two other bones. It irritates me a little bit when I play, but I don’t feel much pain,” said Manwaring, who was cleared to play earlier this month after a CT scan revealed the injury wasn’t as serious as first thought. “It’s usually after I play or practice. I usually ice it, take ibuprofen or take ice baths.”
Had Manwaring undergone surgery, he would have missed 4-6 weeks, Williamstown coach Jack Carrier said.
“Basketball is something special in his life and I told him I supported his decision to play through it or not,” Carrier said. “He wants to push through. It doesn’t affect his jumping or speed.”
From one-on-one battles with his older brother, Stephen, who also played at Williamstown, to additional basketball tips from his father, Shawn, on a court built six years ago in the family’s yard, Jason Manwaring hopes his commitment to the sport he loves pays off at the next level.
“My goal is to at least play Division II,” said Manwaring, whose homemade court is paved up to the 3-point line.
Which is why Carrier has used Manwaring on the perimeter more this winter, an effort to develop his game for college.
“At his size and length, he’s not going to play inside in college,” Carrier said. “He’s a real dangerous mid-range scorer and attacking the glass.”
In the memorable night at Rochester, Manwaring reached 1,000 career points on his signature shot — a high-release, turnaround jumper from about 18 feet.
“It was a classic Jason Manwaring shot. We talked about it after the game, how fitting it was that it came on a shot we’ve seen him make all the time,” Carrier said. “He’s a special kid, a coach’s dream. He’s not a selfish player. It is 1,000 points, but it is also a 1,000 unselfish points.”
When the game was stopped to honor Manwaring, Carrier broke down during his speech. It was a moment that caught Manwaring’s attention.
“I can still picture right now. I didn’t know how big of a deal it was, it was just surreal,” Manwaring said.