ATHENS -- Being a tall point guard brings its own challenges. So Georgias Charles Mann has spent time watching film and studying someone who pulls it off well: Michael Carter-Williams, the recent lottery pick and early NBA rookie of the year candidate.
Hes not a great jump shooter, but he can knock down shots, he can get his team involved, Mann said. I just try to really watch him and compare my game to his.
Mann, to be clear, is not trying to be as good as Carter-Williams, but is trying to emulate the balance the Philadelphia 76ers rookie is pulling off well. When youre a tall point guard, and one of your teams top scorers, you have to figure out when youre in pass mode and when youre in scoring mode.
Or put another way: Sometimes Mann has to be Georgias point guard. Sometimes he also has to carry the scoring load.
Its a new role for Mann, who like everyone else last year took a supporting role to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who ended up being picked three spots before Carter-Williams in the draft. The question after Caldwell-Popes departure was how Georgia would replace his scoring. It was expected to be a collective effort, but in crunch time it has ended up being Mann, the 6-foot-5 sophomore.
Mann is averaging 14.6 points through seven games after averaging just 6.7 last season.
Last year, he was in double figures in eight of Georgias 32 games. This year, he has done it five times already.
But the drawback has been Manns ball handling. He has 21 turnovers thus far with only 20 assists. Ideally, the ratio is closer to 3 assists per turnover.
Mann said he has had some careless turnovers early in the season, but he called them correctable. He said he has been guilty of trying to fit them into a window thats not that open.
Head coach Mark Fox said its not a case of being too tall, thus the ball being too high off the ground and defenders taking advantage.
Decisions are probably 90 percent of it, Fox said. In that scenario, its correctable.
What Fox doesnt want to do is discourage Manns scoring or play him a lot with freshman J.J. Frazier, who is more of a traditional point guard. The goal is to improve Manns ball handling and keep him scoring.
For us, the best point guards Ive had have been guys who could distribute the ball but also score it, Fox said. Charles was recruited to do just that. Score the ball, make plays for himself, but also for other people. This year, I think hes made a step forward. Weve got to get him healthy, but I think hes off to a decent start about it.