Mangano, Willhite Await Professional Opportunities

Greg Mangano (Ron Waite photo)
Greg Mangano (Ron Waite photo)

Mangano A Candidate To Be Selected In Thursday's NBA Draft

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for Greg Mangano '12. He has crisscrossed the country, trying to impress NBA general managers, coaches and scouts. The last stop was Tuesday in Memphis for a work out with the Grizzlies. Now the waiting begins. The NBA Draft is Thursday night and Mangano is considered a possible second round selection.

 "As it gets closer and closer, hopefully I'll have a better idea of where/if I'll go somewhere in the second round," Mangano said over the weekend from Utah, where he was working out for the Jazz.

Mangano, an Orange, Conn., native who played at Notre Dame-West Haven High School, hopes to become the first Yale player to be drafted since 1987 when Chris Dudley was selected in the fourth round by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The draft has since been shortened to only two rounds.

Since graduating Yale in May, Mangano has worked with a personal trainer and been fine-tuning the aspects of his game that will be needed at the next level. In addition to the Jazz and Grizzlies, he had work outs with the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks.

"I've gotten a lot of good feedback from teams who have been pleased with my shooting and surprised by my athleticism and footwork, which is something my trainer and I have been working a lot on," said Mangano, who also attended the Portsmouth Invitational in April. "Most teams would like to see me put some weight on, but overall it's been very positive and reassuring."

Mangano isn't the only former Yale player looking to embark on a professional career. Reggie Willhite '12 worked out for the Celtics and reportedly posted one of the best conditioning scores in team history. Willhite isn't likely to get drafted but could earn an invitation to play for one of the NBA's summer league teams.

Both Willhite and Mangano built impressive resumes while playing at Yale. Willhite, an Elk Grove, Calif., native, was the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year this winter, the first Yale player to win that award, and also earned second team All-Ivy recognition. He finished his career with 132 steals, the seventh most in school history.

As a senior, Willhite set a single-season school record with 65 steals and was 17th in the nation in steals (2.24 per game). In addition, he led the Ivy League in steals, was eighth in scoring (12.1 ppg.) and assist/turnover ratio (1.4), ninth in rebounding (6.1 rpg.), fifth in field goal percentage (.475) and sixth in assists (3.9 per game). In a win at Columbia, he scored a career-high 24 points, including a driving layup that was the game-winner with 13 seconds left. He was named to the Capital One Academic All-District I first team and was an Academic All-Ivy selection.

Prior to the season, he trained with former Duke stars Christian Laettner and Grant Hill.

Mangano is Yale's all-time leader with 213 career blocked shots, breaking the mark set by Dudley, and is third in Ivy League history in blocks. He finished his career with 735 career rebounds, the sixth most in school history, and 1,213 career points, which is 13th. Mangano was a two-time first team All-Ivy selection, one of only seven multiple first team All-Ivy picks in school history and the first since Paul Maley (1987-88). He led the Ivy League in both rebounding and blocks as both a junior and senior. Following his junior season, he was selected to play for Team USA at the 2011 World University Games in China.

He hopes that body of work is enough to earn him a selection in the draft, but if not his dream of playing in the NBA won't end.

"I'm going to continue to work hard for every opportunity I get," he said, "and if I'm not drafted hopefully sign as an undrafted free agent and join a summer league team."

The 2012 NBA draft will be televised on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity