Colleagues say Manning up to job
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Thursday, April 05, 2012
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Friends, colleagues and former teammates had positive things to say Wednesday as the University of Tulsa introduced Danny Manning as its new head basketball coach.
Former Edison High School standout Kevin Pritchard played alongside Manning on the University of Kansas' 1988 NCAA championship team.
"I think it's terrific, absolutely a match made in Heaven," said Pritchard, now director of player personnel for the NBA's Indiana Pacers.
"I've been around a lot of leaders, but I don't know if I've been around any better. Danny is a great communicator. He's tough when he needs to be and he's gonna put his arm around you when you needed it. I think he'll do an amazing job at Tulsa," Pritchard said.
KU struggled through the 1988 season before coming to life in the postseason and beating a favored Oklahoma in the championship game.
"We had some tough times that season, and sometimes tough times are good because you find out who you want in the trenches with you. Tough times brought out the best in Danny," Pritchard said.
Larry Brown coached that KU team, part of a career that included 1,275 NBA coaching wins with eight different franchises. He is the only coach to win both NBA and NCAA titles, winning the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
"Danny's always had a real feel for the game," Brown said. "When he first told me that he thought he might want to get started on a head-coaching career, he asked me if I would help him, but I said I didn't think he needed my help."
Manning's father, the late Ed Manning, served on Brown's KU staff. As a result, Brown has monitored Danny's progress since the latter's senior year at Lawrence High School in 1984.
"His dad was a great teacher and student of the game. I think Danny has always thought like a coach," Brown said. "I've been blessed to have been around a lot of kids who have done pretty well playing the game and went on to coach. I don't think any of them understood the game any more than he did."
University of Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger said, "Danny has always represented with class and integrity. He was a terrific player and I have no doubt he will have great success as a head coach."
Manning went on to play 15 NBA seasons, twice reaping all-star recognition and totaling 12,367 career points. Since 2003, he's served on Bill Self's KU coaching staff.
Former Arkansas standout Joe Kleine played alongside Manning during a time with the NBA's Phoenix Suns. Kleine is now an Arkansas-Little Rock assistant coach.
"Danny was a very smart player when I was around him," Kleine said. "I think he'll do well as a college coach. He has a great knowledge of the college game. I think he'll know what to do, both on and off the floor."
Original Print Headline: All say Manning up to job
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Danny Manning (right) speaks with former Kansas and ORU coach Ted Owens after Manning was introduced as TU's new head basketball coach Wednesday. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World