There are a litany of things that can lead to team success. Good chemistry, strong leadership and a deep roster are just a few to name. Having a strong inside game which can complement and equally strong outside game is another.
For the Paul VI Panthers (Fairfax, Va.) they boast just that, with senior forward V.J. King and senior center Corey Manigault combining for a dominant big man-forward combination. Against St. Josephs (Metuchen, N.J.) at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass., that two-man synergy was on show.
King (23 points) and Manigault (18 points) led the Panthers to a 69-60 win over the Chargers. Manigault pulled down a team-high 15 rebounds as well.
“[Rebounding] was an area we were really struggling in,” Manigault explained. “I had to be a leader. I had to crash the glass, and do my job basically.”
The six-foot-nine Pittsburgh commit was a force on the boards all evening, grabbing six offensive rebounds.
“It’s a lot,” Manigault said in regards to the impact that offensive rebounds can have for a team. “Because that extra shot gives us an extra possession, and that extra possession gives us a chance for extra points. I’m just trying to do as much as I can for my team on both ends.”
What sets Manigault apart from most big men is his ability to hustle down the court. He was frequently the first man back on offense, which left him open for several wide open dunks.
“It’s something we work on in practice, we just run and run. It’s really what we do all practice. Move in transition and getting transition buckets – we want to move fast, we don’t want to move slow.”
Matingault was able to pull up for several mid-range jumpers against St. Josephs, but explained that jump shooting is not typically his game.
“I mean I can shoot,” Matingault said with a laugh. “If it’s there I’m going to shoot it.”
With Manigault posted up down low, it makes way for a good connection between he and Louisville commit V.J. King. Manigault and King were able to pair up multiple times on the evening to wreak havoc on offense. With 4:23 remaining in the third quarter, King passed the ball to Manigault in the post, who quickly dished it back to a slashing King for two points.
“It’s very good, just going at it and having somebody else able to score so I don’t have to do all the work offensively and defensively.” Manigault explained.
Manigault was able to capitalize whenever King missed a shot, positioning himself right under the basket to gobble up the rebound.
“It’s good to see that when the shot goes up, everybody collapses and rebounds,” King said. “The team knows that I’m going to get shots up and be aggressive. So when the shot goes up, everybody collapses and rebounds.”
King led his team in scoring with 23 points on Saturday, something he’s accustomed to doing. He was able to read the zone defense and attack the basket all evening.
“[Scoring] is definitely my role on the team. Just doing anything I can to help us win. I’m just coming out, being aggressive and exploiting the defense. It’s definitely my main focus.”
King went on to explain that his main goal for the rest of the season is winning a state championship.
“Just winning a championship this year. There’s no other focus. I’m playing free and without any stress. I feel that all the individual stuff will come, but I just want to win.”