Tre Mann could have sat out the month of June and saved his body for the rigors of AAU basketball.
But that’s not how The Villages’ high-scoring senior thinks.
Instead, Mann has spent the month working out and playing with his high school teammates, trying to establish a mindset for next season and iron out problem areas. With any luck, Mann hopes the sweat expended in summer will pay off with a state title in 2019.
Mann, one of the nation’s most heavily recruited players, led the Buffalo into Friday’s opening day at the Buffalo Team Camp, a three-day, 42-team basketball tournament played at The Villages. On Friday, Mann led the Buffalo past Orlando Bishop Moore in overtime and to a double-digit win against Zephyrhills.
“We want to lay the foundation for next season now,” Mann said. “This is a great time to do that. We’re playing good teams and this is the last chance we’ll have to do it before practice begins in the fall.
“The things we’re able to do now well give us a head start on the season.”
Mann averaged 20 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a junior and was a first team member of the Daily Commercial’s All-Area team. He has already received offers from some of the nation’s top basketball programs, including Kansas and Florida.
His 2018 season was filled with highlights, including a 37-point effort against Abington (Pennsylvania) Senior High on the final day of the Monteverde Academy Invitational Tournament. He also had a 32-point game against two-time Class 2A state champion Miami Christian on the second day of the MAIT.
He suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee during the Buffalo’s Class 5A-District 5 championship game, a 62-49 loss to Ocala Trinity Catholic. The loss sent The Villages on the road to Orlando Lake Highland Prep for a regional quarterfinal game and with Mann sidelined, the Buffalo fell 57-46.
Despite recording a 20-8 record in 2017-18, particularly after advancing to the Class 5A state Final Four the previous season, the Buffalo walked away feeling as if they left a few things on the court.
Now fully recovered from his injury, Mann and his teammates are driven to prove last year’s early exit was a fluke.
“This next season will be my last year at The Villages,” Mann said. “I want to enjoy this year with my teammates and have fun with them. That’s the most important factor for me. Winning, of course, would be the best way to have fun.”
Buffalo coach Colt McDowell said Mann’s approach to the summer speaks volumes about him.
“Having him on the court for our camp speaks to why Tre is so highly recruited,” McDowell said. “He wants to get better, he wants to help his teammates get better and he wants our program to be the best it can possibly be. A lot of kids in his situation might sit this out and get ready for AAU ball.
“Not Tre. It’s important to him that we win a district championship, and regional championship … and hopefully, a state championship.”
This weekend’s team camp is Mann’s final summer outing with his prep teammates. In July, he’ll swap his Buffalo uniform for AAU garb and the 6-foot-4 guard will test his skills on a different level.
But come November, Mann will be ready to go with The Villages … for the final time.
“We’ve got a lot of goals for next season,” Mann said. “A state championship, of course, is our biggest goal, but we have a long way to go before that. Everything we’re able to do now will help us reach that goal.”