Arizona will have ‘best backcourt’ in NCAA with Mannion, Green, Armstrong

Photo: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Arizona will have ‘best backcourt’ in NCAA with Mannion, Green, Armstrong

Boys Basketball

Arizona will have ‘best backcourt’ in NCAA with Mannion, Green, Armstrong


Three of the top players in the University of Arizona’s No. 1 recruiting class took part in two different tournaments over the weekend.

In Hoophall West in Scottsdale, Ariz., Nico Mannion of Pinnacle (Phoenix) High School delighted the crowd with his passing, shooting and finishing abilities while Bella Vista (Scottsdale) Prep’s Terry Armstrong showed off some playmaking abilities with usual starting point guard, Nicolas Elame, out with an injury.

Across the country in Hyattsville, Md., Josh Green of IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) took part in National Hoopfest.

Bella Vista Prep head coach Kyle Weaver thinks the group will connect well as Wildcats next year.

“They’re going to have the best backcourt in college basketball,” Weaver said. “I truly believe.”

We’ve already seen Mannion and Green on the court together. The two USA TODAY Chosen 25 stars played in the West Coast Elite for three years, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Green’s cutting ability and athleticism earned him plenty of open looks from Mannion.

Armstrong has taken notice of his future teammate.

“He’s crazy,” Armstrong said about Green. “I think me and him on the wing will be great next year.”

In addition to Green, Armstrong can be another threat for Mannion with his ability to overpower smaller defenders and get to the rim. The two players give options for Mannion to kick out to while he’s driving, or to find on cuts to the basket.

Mannion, a knockdown 3-point shooter, can also play off-ball with Green or Armstrong distributing. While Armstrong played a facilitator role on Friday, Green averaged seven assists per game last season and has continued to be a primary ball handler this year.

“With those three, with Josh Green and Terry, they’re both great kids and going to do whatever they got to do to win,” said Weaver. “When you add Nico to the mix, those kids can all play on and off the ball.”

That’s not even mentioning four-star power forward Zeke Nnaji from Hopkins (Minn.) or three-star Christian Koloko, a 7-foot center from Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) to round out the top recruiting class in the country.

“Everyone that’s going I’m close to, so it’s nice,” Mannion said. “Everyone’s a great player but they’re also good kids so it’ll be easy to mesh that group together.”


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