WARSAW, Ind. (BVM) — Over the last several years, Kyle Mangas has become a basketball superstar in Indiana. After a special career at Warsaw Community High School and a legendary career at Indiana Wesleyan, Mangas is set to begin his pro career in the Czech Republic. However, his Indiana roots, and the impact he made in the state, are not going anywhere.
Mangas’ roots in the game of basketball were formed early on in his life, as his dad is a former college basketball player and his older brother has always played the sport as well.
“It was through my family,” Mangas said. “I just kind of grew up in a household where basketball was the main sport and all of my friends played it. I just enjoyed the competitiveness of it and basketball was always my favorite. I knew I’d always stick with basketball.”
Through the years, Mangas developed a high basketball IQ and a pure shooting stroke. The 6-foot-4 guard also developed physically, contributing to his length with an impressive 6-foot-10 wingspan.
Putting in work throughout his youth to get better and stronger, it was no surprise that Mangas had a terrific prep basketball tenure at Warsaw Community High School. Over his career, Mangas compiled over 1,400 points for the Tigers, highlighted by a special senior season in which he averaged nearly 23 points per game.
Mangas helped lead Warsaw to deep postseason success in each of his years on the varsity squad. As a senior, he was also named one of 12 Indiana All-Stars. While the success and accolades are something Mangas takes a lot of pride in, he is also thankful for growing up in Warsaw, Indiana, and getting to experience the unique atmosphere that high school basketball in his home state offers.
“I’m grateful to have grown up in Warsaw which is a big basketball community,” Mangas said. “Indiana high school basketball is a little different. People are really passionate about it so that makes it a lot of fun. My junior year we started 22-0 and made a run to the final four, and my senior year we made a run all the way to the elite eight, so we had some fun postseasons.”
Despite the high school success, Mangas did not receive a whole lot of interest when it came to playing college basketball. However, a local school, Indiana Wesleyan, had been with Mangas throughout his recruiting process. Taking a liking to the Wildcats’ strong program and talented coaching staff, the guard decided the NAIA school was the right fit for him.
“I didn’t have a ton of college interest,” Mangas explained. “Indiana Wesleyan actually started looking at me when I was a freshman in high school and I just immediately built a connection with the staff and was really attracted to the program because they had won two national championships before I got there. Throughout the whole recruiting process, I knew Indiana Wesleyan was the one.”
Mangas certainly made the right choice with Indiana Wesleyan, and the program will never be the same thanks to the incredible impact he made on it. That impact began during his freshman year, where Mangas averaged over 21 points per game as one of the top players on the team. The Crossroads Conference Player of the Year and first team NAIA Division II All-American led the Wildcats to another national championship win.
“Freshman year was really special,” Mangas said. “To come in right away and win the conference and a national championship, you can’t ask for much more than that. I stepped into a big role right away, it was a big jump for me. I feel like I adjusted pretty quickly and had some great help from my teammates and the coaches there.”
A year later, Mangas upped his average to over 23 points per game while again earning league player of the year and first team All-American honors. Although the Wildcats would fall short of a title, they still boasted an impressive 30-6 record thanks in large part to Mangas.
By his junior year, the guard became a true leader for his squad. Averaging nearly 27 points per game, Mangas led Indiana Wesleyan to a 29-4 record, and its third consecutive Crossroads League title. With the team poised to compete for another national championship, the remainder of the 2020 season was halted due to COVID-19.
Although it was a tough way to end, some of the accolades Mangas received after the season may have helped ease the pain. Again winning league player of the year and becoming a first team All-American, this time Mangas was also named NAIA Division II National Player of the Year.
Mangas took home that honor once again in his senior season, averaging nearly 30 points per game.
🚨 BACK-TO-BACK 🚨
Kyle Mangas (@Kmango2) was named the 2020-21 NAIA National Player of the Year. This season the now 4x First Team All-American averaged 29.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists while shooting 60% from the field and 39% from behind the arc. #iam3 #fearless pic.twitter.com/ZAg1AG7W6a
— IWU Hoops (@IWUHoops) March 25, 2021
Impressively, the Wildcats finished the regular season 28-1 and were ranked No. 1 at the NAIA Division II level for the majority of the season. While they would again fall short in the national tournament, the final two years to close Mangas’ college career were highly impressive.
“A big thing for me was to not be satisfied on the court or off the court,” Mangas said. “I wanted to improve my production each year. We had a really great year my junior season and another great year senior year. It was just a really great overall experience.”
When it was all said and done, Mangas finished his career as Indiana Wesleyan’s all-time leading scorer with 3,453 points, and also compiled over 800 career rebounds, over 500 assists and over 200 steals.
Mangas left a legacy that will not be forgotten, not just at Indiana Wesleyan, but within the NAIA as a whole.
“It definitely means a lot, but I want people to remember that I carried myself the right way, that I was kind and caring to my teammates and really tried to help bring others along,” Mangas added.
After graduating last spring, Mangas had an eventful summer. It began with an opportunity to compete in this year’s TBT with Men of Mackey.
✅4 Time All-American
✅2 Time NAIA National POY
✅Bevo Francis Award
✅Career average of 25 ppg
Welcome to the Men of Mackey, Kyle! pic.twitter.com/aiLMGmiR0I
— Men of Mackey (@PurdueTbt) June 8, 2021
Although the Indiana product may have grown up as a Hoosiers’ fan, the opportunity to learn from former Purdue greats was second to none.
“It was an awesome experience,” Mangas said. “It was kind of funny because my entire family grew up as big Hoosier fans. There were some really good Purdue legends playing. There were a really lot of good pro basketball players in there, so a huge thing for me was just learning from them and picking their brains. I was the young guy on the team so I got to learn from the veterans.”
Seeking a professional basketball career, Mangas was also invited to NBA workouts with the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and his home state Indiana Pacers as well.
“It was cool that they were all Midwest and teams that you watched growing up and are all in the area,” Mangas said. “It was special to go in there and compete against high DI-level prospects. My matchup at the Pacers workout was Ayo Dosunmu, so it was fun competing against him. I was just honored to represent a small college in that big professional landscape and I hope it gives some other players hope that it can be done.”
Mangas’ NBA dream continues to be alive. Growing up loving the playstyle of Spurs’ legend Manu Ginobili, and now watching the talents night in and night out of current stars such as Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard, Mangas could still follow in their footsteps one day.
While Mangas did have some opportunities to play in the G-League, his professional career has officially begun overseas, as late in the summer, Mangas joined USK Praha in the Czech Republic National Basketball League.
“It was a pretty crazy summer,” Mangas noted. “While the NBA process was going on, the overseas process was going on too and I’m blessed to have a good agent because I didn’t know a whole lot about that or how to navigate through it. In August, I accepted an offer to come here to the Czech Republic and it’s been a really good experience here so far.
“There were a number of things that attracted me here. Being in a big city like Prague, it’s very westernized and is nice for my first year. I knew I would get to play a lot and get a lot of minutes. We have a young American coach which is nice for communication, and it’s a pretty good league to start out at too. I figured it’d be a good spot for my first year.”
Mangas has been in the Czech Republic now for a month-and-a-half, and his season has already kicked off as his team is off to a 4-2 start on the year. As he has at all of his previous basketball stops, Mangas has made an immediate splash with his new squad.
“I made an impact right away and that’s what I hope to bring just for scoring, creating on offense and trying to use my length on defense,” the 22-year-old said. “The professional game is definitely different from college. Guys are stronger and their IQs are high. I just hope to keep learning, getting better and keep moving forward with it.”
With his remarkable talent still continuing to grow, there’s no telling how far Mangas’ pro career may go. Whether it is overseas or back in the United States, Mangas is focused on doing his best at every turn, and continuing to make his family, friends and hometown of Warsaw proud, just as he has for his entire life.
“I told my parents after college that I want to see where this basketball thing will take me, because it can take you a lot of places,” Mangas said. “I really do want to play at the highest level that I can whether that is getting back to the states or making it all the way to the Euro league. You never know what can happen if you keep chipping away at it. Representing Warsaw wherever I wind up, I just want to carry myself in the right way. The awards and stuff are always cool, but I’d rather be remembered for my character.”