Former North Carolina star Brady Manek is heading down to begin his international professional basketball career. On Thursday, it was announced that Manek had signed a deal to play for the Perth Wildcats of the National Basketball League in Australia.
In its 40-year history, Perth has been the most successful franchise in the NBL, winning a total of 10 championships and six since 2010. No other team in the league has won more than six trophies.
Before signing with Perth, Manek participated in the NBA Summer League with the Charlotte Hornets and averaged 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 rebounds in five games. He shot 38.2 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from three and averaged 14.7 minutes off the bench.
With Perth, Manek will join a roster led by former Providence star Bryce Cotton, who scored a career-high 36 points in a 79-77 loss to UNC in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
??????Brady Manek to Perth Wildcats deal complete! Former @UNC_basketball future heading to 10-time @NBL champion. @Totalbasketgr @PerthWildcats @BradyManek #nbl #basketball #ncaa #nba #NBASummerLeague pic.twitter.com/aUFC1U2Mn9
— Christos Harpidis (@chrisalucard) July 28, 2022
In an interview in May, Manek revealed that he intends to turn pro after his senior season at Oklahoma. However, the decision to stay in college was made easier because of the Covid laws overseas and the name, image and money at premier programs like UNC.
“My biggest reason (for not turning pro) was that I didn’t want to grow up yet,” Manek said. The Tar Heel Show Podcast. “My thought process was definitely going to be an overseas player. [Because of COVID] There was no startup money there, so it didn’t make sense for me to go that far.
Manek’s decision to continue his college career at UNC could not be better for himself as a player or for the Tar Heels as a team. After starting the season on the bench as UNC’s sixth man, Manek Dawson once again earned a starting role. Garcia left the team. He thrived in the spread four role at UNC, using his size and quick release to knock down threes over smaller defenders, score in the post and become the Tar Heels’ go-to player.
Manek played in all 39 games for Carolina (27 starts) and averaged 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. His rebounding average was the second-highest mark on the team and the second-best total of his career. His 40.3 percent led all Tar Heels (10 attempts per minute).
In three games against Duke, Manek averaged 18.3 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent from three-point range (14-of-26). In the last four games against the Blue Devils, the Oklahoma transfer had 14 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Monument hit a three to give UNC a 73-71 lead with 1:41 left in the game.
Manek’s 98 three-pointers are second in the UNC record books behind Justin Jackson’s 105 (2016-17).