New Hyde Park’s Mangione uses old-school game to succeed on court

New Hyde Park’s Mangione uses old-school game to succeed on court
New Hyde Park High School junior guard Frankie Mangione (in white) averaged more than 18 points per game last season. Photo credit: NHP High School.

The question comes up all the time when Frankie Mangione is sporting a shirt with a “30” on the back.

The New Hyde Park High School junior is frequently asked if those digits are in honor of Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors superstar regarded by most as the best shooter in NBA history.

And 99% of kids who do rock that number are wearing it in honor of a Splash Brother.

But not Mangione.

“Everyone thinks it’s Steph but my dad raised me a Knicks fan and I wear it for Bernard King,” Mangione said with a chuckle. “Bernard was amazing.”

King, who starred for the Knicks in the 1980s and famously dropped 44 points on the Pistons in Game 5 of the 1984 Eastern Conference playoffs, is indeed a legend here in New York, so it’s not totally surprising a New York kid would pay homage.

But Mangione’s game also resembles that of King in more ways than one. Not a long-range shooter or a big dunker, the 6-foot-1 junior guard uses a mid-range game and scores on a variety of jumpers, drives and layups.

Not the biggest or the fastest, like King wasn’t, Mangione finds a way. Last season he averaged 18.3 points for the Gladiators, to go along with four rebounds and three assists per game.

Mangione did make 52 3-pointers, but he’s far from a one-trick pony.

“He’s just a smart, high IQ player who knows basketball and can talk to you all day about it,” said new Gladiators head coach Shireem Cobb. “He can score at all three levels, and considering how much teams focus on him, Frankie is still able to get buckets.”

Through five games this season, as of Dec. 14, Mangione was averaging 10.4 points per contest.

Mangione said he’s been obsessed with the sport since he was about 5, playing on a mini-hoop in his house.

He started playing CYO ball when he was 7, playing at Notre Dame in town, and said sports helped him with his shyness.

“I was always nervous around people, and basketball gave me confidence and helped me feel better,” Mangione said. “Just hearing the sound of the ball go through the hoop was so much fun for me.”

Mangione started travel ball in sixth grade, bouncing around to a few different programs before landing at Crown Basketball, based in Westbury.

“He’s really worked on being a more complete basketball player, and like all players still needs to be locked in more on defense,” Cobb said. “He’s a good defensive rebounder, but it’s the little things he needs to do to get better.”

Mangione admits he needs improvement, mostly on stamina. He said he still gets tired in the fourth quarter sometimes.

“My legs get heavy which isn’t what you want as a shooter,” Mangione said. “But I’m working on it.”

With New Hyde Park off to an 0-5 start under their new coach, Cobb knows he’s going to need a lot from Mangione this season, and sees a bright future for his junior.

“I think he definitely has a chance to play college basketball, it’s just at what level,” Cobb said. “He’s got to get a little stronger, a little faster, and just get better everywhere.”

Mangione said he isn’t sure where he’d like to go to college yet, but does hope to become a sports broadcaster when he grows up.

For now, he’s focused on helping the Gladiators get better, and educating people about Bernard King one story at a time.


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