The Miles Vs Manu Lecomte(Prienai CBet) Talk About The Special Magic Of Baylor Basketball

Emmanuel Lecomte (180-PG-95, college: Baylor) is a 25 year old 180cm point guard from Grimbergen Belgium that is playing his third professional season. This season has been a roller coaster as he began with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 2 games averaging 11.0ppg, 2.0apg and then moved to moved to Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-Jeep ELITE ProA) playing 2 games averaging 11.0ppg, 2.0apg, and currently is with Prienai CBet (Lithuania-LKL) averaging 15,6ppg, 1,8rpg, 5,4apg and 1,3spg. Last year he split time with Universidad Catolica de Murcia CB (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 18 games averaging 6.1ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 38.5%, 3FGP: 30.6%, FT: 79.4%, and then moved to Herbalife Gran Canaria (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 5 games averaging 5.4ppg, 1.0apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 80.0%, FT: 90.0%. In his rookie season in 2018-2019 he played with Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (NBA G League) playing 48 games averaging 14.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 4.3apg, 2FGP: 50.8%, 3FGP: 40.2%, FT: 86.2%, and then moved to Universidad Catolica de Murcia CB (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 9 games averaging 7.1ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 15.8%, FT: 90.5% He started his basketball career in Belgium with BBC Kangoeroes-Boom (D2) and then played with Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Ethias League). In 2013 he moved to the States and played with Miami (NCAA) for two seasons playing 71 games. He then transferred to Baylor and made his break through as a junior leading the team to the NCAA Sweet 16 playing 33 games averaging 12.2ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 45.0%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 83.0%. In his senior year he played 32 games averaging 16.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 43.9%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 88.5%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his memories of Baylor and the 2021 title game.

Manu thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

I’m in Lithuania at the moment. I have been good. I’m just trying to finish the season strong

Your playing your third professional season. It has been a roller coaster season. You began in Frankfurt, then went to France to Pau Ortez and now are balling in Lithuania with Prienai CBet (Lithuania-LKL) How tough has this season been for you in terms of the team changes and COVID-19?

It has been more about COVID as to why I have been having a roller coaster season. This season hasn’t been easy, but it has made me better as a player. I’m happy that I have found stability in Lithuania.

How did your experience with three teams and all the COVID-19 drama made you stronger as a man?

It has been a long and difficult time for everyone. Not only for basketball players. I needed to adjust in this period and learn to make changes. COVID helped me to become more prepared for what comes next.

Let’s talk about your alma mater Baylor. They won the 2021 NCAA title. How do you feel the day after the win?

I feel great. I’m so happy for the players and the coaching staff. They truly deserve it. Last year was so tough. They had a good year and then it abruptly ended because of COVID. They took advantage this year and kept winning. They proved that they were the best by beating the heavy favorite.

Playing overseas is always a problem when you want to catch NBA and NCAA games. Did your schedule permit you to stay up and watch history being made?

Yes for sure. The game began at 4.30 and was over at 6,30 am. I’m glad that we had today off. I was up all night. I couldn’t miss it.

You reached the NCAA Sweet 16 with Baylor in 2017. You said this about Baylor basketball to me in 2017. ‘The sky is the limit for us this year as it was last year, we are going to prove a lot of people wrong again but it’s a process we still have a lot of work to do but I believe we can accomplish anything with this team, the Final Four is in mind for sure. If someone had told you in 2017 that Baylor would be crowned NCAA champions in 2021 what would you have thought?

I would of said that it was completely possible. I knew what kind of coaching staff we had.

What was special about the 2017 Baylor team that had future NBA player Johnathan Motley and future Euro pro’s Ishmail Wainright and Allerik Freeman?

We had a great team. We were all close and were good friends. It showed on the court. We had experienced guys. Those guys you mentioned had already been there for a few years. I came in and just did what I do. We were #1 in the country at some point. We set a school record winning 15 games in a row. I have to give a lot of credit to Scott Drew. He has a system that works and wins games.

Baylor has had 13 NCAA tournament appearances, 6 Elite 8’appearances and 5 Sweet 16’s. They also hadn’t been in a NCAA final game since 73 years. What does this title mean to the school and to you personally?

It means a lot. Coach Scott Drew came to Baylor when they were at the bottom. He was in a bad position when he took over, but he turned it around. He made Baylor into a winning program. He made his dream become reality. He did the impossible taking Baylor from the bottom to the top. I feel like I’m part of it. We should all feel proud. We all help build the Baylor tradition.

Baylor had a simple game plan. Make some shots. If you miss get the rebounds and then make some more shots. Can basketball sometimes be that simple?

I think that overall Baylor was more prepared than Gonzaga. Baylor was a lot more physical than Gonzaga. They rebounded very well especially on the offensive glass. Baylor plays with three guards, but everyone helped make plays and crashed the boards. In a game like this rebounding is huge. Baylor bullied Gonzaga from the start to the end.

Baylor made 11 of their first 20 shots including six three’s and led by 19 points at the break. They had a double digit lead for 34 of the 40 minutes. How vital do you believe was the mentality of the Baylor team for being able to play this well against the heavy favorite and unbeaten Gonzaga team?

It’s all about the mentality. It is one game and there are only 40 minutes. It is all about who shows up and wants it more. Like I said before Baylor was more prepared and more physical from the start. You could see from the start that there was a difference.

How key was it for Baylor players Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Flo Thamba and Mark Vital limiting Drew Timme to 12 points?. The star Jalen Suggs had 22 points, but Gonzaga didn’t have scoring support behind him.

Gonzaga do have support, but Baylor was just too good. Those three guys that you mentioned are probably the three most physical defenders in the NCAA and they also do the little things. Vital is only 6’5, but he also plays the five. He doesn’t score much, but he is a force of nature and gets offensive rebounds. When you have three guys like them always rotating in time it becomes difficult for Drew Timme being able to play his game.

Gonzaga has made big strides since 2015 making 5 NCAA Elite 8 appearances and two NCAA finals in 2021 and 2017. Could another final loss hurt their overall confidence to win the big one or do you feel like they will be due in 2022? Many are already picking them to win it next year?

That doesn’t mean anything. It is way to early to make assumptions like that. They have always had a great program and a lot of credit goes to head coach Mark Few. They have always had a winning program and been successful.

Was the rebounding stat 0f 38-22 rebounds and 16 offensive rebounds one of the biggest keys for the win?

It is March Madness. That is why there are so many upsets. Teams come to play. Both teams are great. But in the end Baylor played harder and wanted it more. It showed on the stats.

Davion Mitchell is seen as a #1 Draft pick and Jared Butler as a possible second round pick. How have you followed their careers and how do you seem them doing in the NBA?

It is hard to say. Both guys will get drafted. They didn’t only have good performances in the final, but throughout the whole tournament. Important for them is that they make plays at both ends of the court. The NBA is looking for guys who can score, guard multiple positions and are good with the ball. Both have the potential to be good.

Where do you see the journey of Macio Teague going? He seemed a bit in the shadow of Butler and Mitchell. Could he make the NBA and do you see his game being suited to becoming an impact player overseas?

His game can translate to anywhere. He can shoot the ball and play defense. That will allow him to be able to play anywhere. He could be a good role player in the NBA or play a role on a team in Europe.

Your ex teammate Ishmail Wainright said this about head coach Scott Drew ‘He treated us like professionals since day one. Talked to us like one. Worked us like one. He used to tell us, ‘ You guys want to be professionals someday, you have to walk, talk, eat, work, and take care of your bodies like professionals do!’ How proud are you of your ex coach and how did he groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

I am very proud of coach Drew. He is a great coach, but an even better man. He did a lot for me. The most important thing he taught me was how to lead a team. In order to be a point guard you need to be vocal and bring energy. That was the most valuable thing that he taught me.

How do you see the future of Baylor (NCAA) basketball. Two guys seem to be heading to the NBA and Macio Teague and Mark Vital are also done as seniors.

I think the future will be good. They still have guys coming back like Adan Flagler and Matthew Mayer. We saw how they could play and now they will take over next year. The most important thing is that there is a system in place that works. They will recruit good players. I’m confident with the coaching staff doing a good job. I’m sure the program will continue to go up.

Have you seen Coming To America 2 yet? The reviews have been mixed. Shouldn’t they just have left the original classic untouched?

I haven’t seen it yet. It depends. If you make a sequel it better be good. I like movies. I will watch it. There are some good sequels and some bad ones.

Thanks Manu for the chat.

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