TULSA, Okla.. – Two high school seniors have chosen to play for the Oral Roberts men's basketball team next season, signing their National Letters of Intent during the early signing period. Kellen Manek (Harrah, Okla.) and Russell (R.J.) Smith (Olathe, Kan.) each signed with the Golden Eagles.
"I'm really excited about both of these guys," said Coach Scott Sutton. "They bring different talents to the team but will both have an impact on this program."
Kellen Manek (6-7 | 220 | Harrah, Okla.//Harrah HS)
Manek is a 6-7 forward from Harrah High School, where he averaged 15.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5 assists per game as a junior for Coach Bryan Jennings. He was a District 8 All-Star, named to the Little All-City First Team, and helped lead his team to the state tournament as a junior. Manek's Panther team won the conference championship and went to the state quarterfinals. He was named the MVP of the Panther Classic, the Kingfisher Tournament and the Weatherford Tournament, and was an all-state selection by the Daily Oklahoma. Manek is a two-sport star at Harrah, also playing on the baseball team and is a member of Mu Alpha Theta. The son of Cary and Tina Manek, both of whom played college basketball at Oklahoma Christian, Kellen chose ORU over Texas State, New Orleans, Air Force, Abilene Christian and Brown.
Manek on his decision to play at ORU
"I feel my style of play fits in perfectly with how the team plays and Coach Sutton and his staff believe in me."
Sutton on Manek
"Kellen is a hard-nosed, skilled forward who really understands how to play. He's an in-state kid and we always try to recruit the state of Oklahoma the best we can. He comes from a very good program and is well-coached, and he comes from a basketball family so we are really excited to have him."
R.J. Smith (6-4 | 210 | Olathe, Kan.//Olathe North HS)
As a junior at Olathe North, Smith averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and 3 steals per game. He was an all-state and all-tournament selection as a junior. An honor roll student, VerbalCommits.com lists him as a two-star recruit. In 2015, he led his team to a Sub State Championship, hitting the game-winning shot. He was named to the Hays City Shoot Out and Ralph Miller Classic All-Tournament Teams and was the Metro Sports Athlete of the week. The son of Russell and Deonna Smith, R.J. also drew interest from Missouri State, UMKC, South Dakota and North Dakota State.
Smith on his decision to play at ORU
"ORU is the perfect fit for me. It is close to home and the smaller class sizes will make it easier to navigate. I like how ORU is committed to the student-athlete."
Sutton on Smith
"R.J. is another extremely talented and athletic player whose ceiling is very high. He continues to get better and better as he improves his skill level. I'm excited to see where he is when he steps on campus. He's a kid that is a lot like DaQuan (Jeffries) as far as his athleticism and skill level."
For the latest information on ORU men's basketball, follow @ORUMBB on Twitter or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Golden Eagles Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow or in the App Store.