Warsaw graduate and two-time NAIA Player of the Year Kyle Mangas worked out for the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday as the Pacers prepare for the NBA draft at the end of the month.
Mangas was part of a group of six players that worked out together at the Pacers' practice facility in Indianapolis. He was joined at the workout by Illinois All-American Ayo Dosunmu and former top 30 recruit Isaiah Jackson, a Kentucky product, among others.
“It means everything,” Mangas said of getting an opportunity to work out for the Pacers. “Growing up and watching the Pacers and coming down to games at Bankers Life (Fieldhouse) is one thing, but then actually being here and getting to work out for them and seeing the coaching staff and the facilities. Being from Indiana, we're really passionate about basketball, so it was awesome.”
Mangas was a four-time All-American at Indiana Wesleyan and during his senior season in 2020-21 scored a national-best 29.5 points per game. He also dished 169 assists, which was second in the country.
He felt that he was prepared to be on the court with the top-level draft prospects at the workout, especially offensively, but admitted that guarding Dosunmu, the Bob Cousy Award-winner as the best point guard in the country in 2021, was difficult.
“I really felt like I belonged,” Mangas said. “Especially on the offensive end, getting to my spots and creating for other guys and just shooting the ball at a high level, I thought I did that well. Defensively I held my own, but that was the biggest challenge by far, those dudes are tough. Ayo, he was my matchup and he can go, he's really shifty.
“It was fun competing against those guys. It's been great playing NAIA and at IWU, but going to the next level, this is what it's going to look like.”
“My game has definitely matured, I've definitely become more versatile,” he added, speaking about his time at Wesleyan. “I try to base my game off creating for others. How can I get other guys open, how can I get other guys a shot?”
Mangas' college career ended in March, when his top-ranked Wildcats fell to Bethel in the Sweet 16 of the NAIA National Championship tournament. Wesleyan finished 30-3 and one of the three losses was to Saint Francis.
Mangas scored 974 points as a senior, the most anyone had scored in an NAIA season since 2014.
“I want to play at the highest level that I can,” Mangas said of his professional aspirations. “Just prove to others that small-college kids can make it, that they have talent too, because oftentimes we get overlooked.”
The former Tigers star, who will play for the Purdue alumni team in the upcoming TBT Tournament, has also worked out for the Cleveland Cavaliers and will work out today for the Detroit Pistons.