A state champion at Waxahachie High School, Amanda Mangan has her sights set on playing overseas as she prepares to join Texas A&M International in Laredo on a full-ride scholarship after two record-setting years of junior college basketball at Jacksonville College.
Mangan joined the Lady Indians for the playoffs in 2005-06 as the team won the state tournament. In her junior and senior years she helped lead the team to the Region II tournament before signing with Jacksonville College to continue her career.
After sitting on the bench most of her freshman year, Mangan was turned loose as a sophomore and showed a new wrinkle in her game, the three-point shot.
Used mainly in the paint in high school, Mangan tied Jacksonville College’s career three-point record earlier this year against Panola before breaking it a game later against rival Lon Morris.
Her ability to connect from downtown caught the attention of several four-year universities, both Division I and Division II, before A&M Laredo compared Mangan to her favorite NBA player Dirk Nowitzki to land the sharp-shooter.
“Really what made me choose Texas A&M Laredo was that the coach started calling me Dirk. That’s my player, so it meant a lot,” Mangan said. “I had other schools looking at me but they took longer to offer and were not always full rides. I had a full-ride from Odessa but when I went on a visit there I did not like it plus the way they sub every five minutes while playing is not for me. Texas A&M called me and said, ‘I see you being like the Dirk on the court’ so I was ready to sign.”
Another selling point for A&M, a Division II NCAA university in the Heartland Conference, was the fact that coach David Beaver has connections to teams overseas and promised to get Mangan a tryout to help launch a pro career.
“When I finish these two years I want to go play overseas for three or four years. My Texas A&M coach said he can get me a tryout to play overseas. There are a lot of people who come from overseas to play here that are the top players there and I do not see how because they are not that good. I want to go over there and see how it is,” she said.
Mangan averaged 11.8 points per game as a sophomore with Jacksonville while pulling down 10.2 rebounds a game.
She tied Chelsea Foy (2007-09) for the school record in three-point shots, 75, on Feb. 21 against Panola as she scored 24 points with eight threes.
“I did not even know I was close to it. Coach told me a couple games before Panola that I had a chance to break it. So my goal at Panola was to beat the record,” Mangan said. “I hit eight threes in the game to tie it before breaking it against Lon Morris. Which was better because it was our rival and a home game. As soon as I hit it coach called a timeout and people in the stands came down and gave me a hug because they knew what I had just done.”
In the first three minutes of the game with Lon Morris, Mangan connected on the three to give Jacksonville a 5-0 lead. To top off the excitement her parents, friends and family were on hand to witness the career highlight.
Set to leave for Laredo in less than three weeks, Mangan is ready to make the jump from JUCO to Division II.
“It is going to be different. Going from high school to junior college was different because the game is faster because you have the shot clock. Going to D-II is probably going to be faster than JUCO is but at least I am used to the shot clock. There is going to be more competition and I am looking forward to it,” she said. “It is a great experience to play all types of teams. Last year they played against Baylor and Brittney Griner. They got beat but just the experience to play against somebody you know is going to play in the WNBA is great.”
Mangan was named the Jaguar Award winner as Jacksonville College’s top female athlete that best signifies what Jacksonville College is all about according to head coach Lynn Nabi.
Once her playing days are over, Mangan said she plans to finish her physical therapy training before becoming a select coach.