Cam Manyawu First Cowboy to Land Double-Double in Debut Since 1998
LARAMIE -- A hard hat for a hard night's work.
Cam Manyawu, making his college debut, finished with a double-double Tuesday against Northern New Mexico, scoring 13 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in a 104-56 rout inside the Arena-Auditorium.
He's the first Wyoming freshman to accomplish that since LeDarion Jones scored 10 and snagged the same number of boards in the 1998 season opener against the University of Denver.
If the 6-foot-9, 228-pound Kansas City product was nervous, he sure didn't play like it.
"Actually, a little bit, yeah," Manyawu said, sporting a white helmet with Steamboat stickers on each side, a postgame trophy, if you will, that goes to the night's hardest worker. "I kind of had butterflies a little bit but as the game got going, I just kind of got into my groove and just felt natural."
It looked that way, too.
The three-star prospect from Staley High School netted 10 second-half points, including consecutive rim-rocking dunks that brought the more than 3,300 in attendance to their feet as the Cowboys rolled to an easy 48-point win.
Manyawu, who also blocked a shot, finished with a steal and committed just one foul, was 5-of-8 from the floor and just five assists short of a triple-double, something no one in program history has ever done.
"I was impressed, but I'm not shocked," senior guard Sam Griffin said. "I mean, he's the real deal. In practice, he shows it."
"We all told him, the goal is to be the best he can be," fellow guard Akuel Kot added. "We push him, and he wants it. So, it helps our team so much."
Jeff Linder said Manyawu, who recently turned 18 years old, would see significant minutes with a thumb injury sidelining forward Mason Walters for 10-to-12 weeks. Thinking ahead, Wyoming's head coach said the experience gained throughout the non-conference slate will only add to the lineup once the reigning NAIA National Player of the Year returns to the floor.
"He's just scratching the surface of how good of a player he could be," Linder said. "We knew he was going to be a good player, and then with Mason being hurt, I mean, it just forced him to say, hey, man, you have to figure this out. But, that's the best way to learn."
How did he handle that challenge?
"Mason is a really, really good player, so I knew I had big shoes to fill," he said. "I'm just trying to fill them to the best of my ability, do as much as I can and play hard. I mean, it's easy when I have guys like Akuel, Sam and (Brendan) Wenzel. My job's not hard, I just have to play hard."
Manyawu was dubbed the ninth best prospect in the state of Missouri and the 53rd best power forward prospect in the nation, per 247Sports.com. The First Team All-State selection was recruited by Indiana State, South Dakota, Oral Roberts and others.
Now we know why.
And it's all starting to click for the big man.
"I mean, that was always the goal," he said of playing right away. "In the fall, I came in and I was starting to have really good practices and I was like, yeah, I think I can do this."
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