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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Mann declares for NBA Draft after strong close to the season

The long-heralded Mann announced his decision to enter the NBA Draft Wednesday

<p>Sophomore Tre Mann drives into the chest of a Missouri defender Mar. 4.</p>

Sophomore Tre Mann drives into the chest of a Missouri defender Mar. 4.

With a heartfelt message to Gator nation, star guard Tre Mann announced his intention to forgo his junior season and enter the NBA Draft. 

The Gainesville native thanked his teammates, coaching staff and fans for his time at UF in a tweet Wednesday. Most expect Mann to hire an agent in the near future, but he hasn’t done so yet.

Mann’s draft stock skyrocketed in the final third of the year as he averaged 20.9 points in the final seven games and caught fire in a 30-point performance against Tennessee. 

247Sports tabbed Mann as the 27th overall draft pick in 2021, so Florida fans may hear his name called in the NBA Draft on Nov. 18. 

Mann entered Gainesville with a similar level of hype two years ago. He rose to prominence at the Villages Charter School and developed into a lanky but lethal shooting guard.

Blue-bloods swarmed Mann during his junior year of high school, and the 6-foot-5-inch playmaker garnered first round potential from Evan Daniels in 2018. 

The McDonald’s All-American sorted through a number of quality suitors, namely North Carolina and Kansas. But Mann displayed confidence in coach Mike White’s program with an early commitment before his senior season. 

Mann strode into Gainesville with flighty expectations and disappointed the Florida fan base with an underwhelming freshman season. He shot a dreadful 31% from the field and only contributed 5.3 points per game. 

However, Mann transformed his body between his first and second years on campus and even earned a moniker from White: gym rat. A summer in the weight room added 15 pounds to his slender frame. 

Florida’s shooting guard excelled out of the gate with a double-digit output in his first four games of the season. Mann still struggled with efficiency and offered poor performances against Alabama and Kentucky. 

With Keyontae Johnson’s collapse, Mann’s role as Florida’s leader became clearer. He began to demand the ball in late-game situations and increased his volume and efficiency. 

In the SEC Tournament, Mann offered the greatest glimpse into his pro potential. He single-handedly kept Florida competitive with 28 second-half points and a number of outrageous shots. Mann continued his fine form into the NCAA tournament, where he hit a step-back three to clinch a first-round victory over Virginia Tech and dropped 19 in a loss to Oral Roberts

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Mann’s departure leaves a noticeable hole in the shooting guard position for Florida, which turns the focus onto Johnson’s health and UF’s success in the transfer portal.

Contact Declan Walsh at dwalsh@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @declanaw

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