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From Warsaw to small college stardom

WARSAW CONNECTION: Paul Marandet defends Kyle Mangas on a shot attempt during a regular season game. The two former Warsaw teammates have led their teams to NAIA Division II men's basketball national championships the past two years.

By CHUCK LANDIS - clandis@chronicle-tribune.com

Warsaw boys' basketball coach Doug Ogle had one of the most enviable jobs for the two seasons when Kyle Mangas and Paul Marandet formed the Tigers starting backcourt.

"To have Paul and Kyle on same team was really enjoyable because they could both really play basketball," Ogle said Saturday afternoon.

Mangas and Marandet started together at Warsaw in the 2014-15 and '15-16 seasons and have gone on to become two of the finest guards in the Crossroads League and NAIA Division II men's basketball. In the most recent national tournament, Marandet matched what Mangas accomplished the year before at Indiana Wesleyan and led his Spring Arbor (Michigan) team to the championship.

Both players were named to the DII All-America first team following the tournament and Mangas was the only repeat selection. Marandet was named the tournament's most outstanding player, an honor Mangas received in 2018.

"It's definitely cool now that we've gone back-to-back national championship and back-to-back MVPs of the tournament," Mangas said of his former teammate. "We communicate here and there through the phone, and I did congratulate him."

Marandet just completed his junior season at Spring Arbor and led the Crossroads League with 6.9 assists a game. Mangas closed out his sophomore campaign for IWU with his second consecutive Crossroads League Player of the Year honor after leading the league with a 23.6-point a game scoring average.

Ogle said the two operated much the same way at Warsaw with Marandet running the point and directing the offense, while Mangas scored the bulk of the points. The pair led Warsaw to a 25-2 record in the 2015-16 season the last year the two were together and a loss to McCutcheon in the Class 4A Northern Semistate championship game.

"Kyle was more of a scorer and very efficient, and Paul was the consummate point guard who does a little bit of everything," Ogle said. "They were a lethal combination in high school, and they've both improved in college.

"Both landed in the perfect place for them with the quality of the coaching they have received from Greg Tonagel (IWU coach) and Ryan Cottingham (Spring Arbor) and their staffs as well as the players they've been teammates with," Ogle added.

Marandet said he enjoyed playing with Mangas at Warsaw because their varied skills complimented the other's game almost perfectly.

"Kyle was a great teammate and a very humble guy," Marandet said. "We worked together really well with the way he slashed to the basket and was also a very good catch-and-shoot player, and with my ability to create for other people and get inside the lane and kick it out.

"We had a lot of fun together — and a lot of wins," Marandet added.

Mangas said the chemistry with Marandet was formed at an early age and by the time they played in high school for the Tigers they knew each other's games inside and out.

"I've been playing with Paul since I was a second grader and he was a third grader on the same Warsaw travel team for a long time," Mangas said. "Then we played in high school and had some great teams.

"Paul's a great player and I love seeing him do well at Spring Arbor and I'm happy for him," Mangas added.

While Mangas made the Indiana All-Star in 2017 after graduating from Warsaw, neither he nor Marandet received much attention from college recruiters. Ogle said he was practically begging other Crossroads League teams to take an interest in his standout players.

"I had a few NAIA offers but I say I was under recruited," Marandet said. "Part of it might been the style of play at Warsaw. We didn't get up and down a lot and score a lot of points and didn't make flashy plays.

"But if you saw us play and saw the high basketball IQ and how we were winning, I think you would see how good of players we actually were," he continued.

Crossroads League member Grace College is just outside Warsaw and had only mild interest in Mangas and Marandet, according to them and Ogle.

"I was trying to get the other Crossroads League coaches to recruit them, especially Paul, and they just didn't listen to me, which I found a bit perplexing," Ogle said. "Now, I'm sure they wished they had taken what I told them a little bit more seriously."

Mangas said some people in Warsaw wanted him to attend Grace, but the community has come to appreciate the level of success he and Marandet have achieved away from their hometown.

"I don't want to speak for Paul," Mangas said, "But we've been getting a lot people back home and teammates and friends and supporters reaching out and congratulating us and are excited for us. I'm just proud of coming from Warsaw and I had a lot of great memories with Paul."