Countdown to tip-off: The mysterious Roberto Mantovani

Robert Morris basketball opens their season Nov. 11 against Penn. Over the course of the next month, we’ll post about the things we’re looking forward to leading up to the season.

Last week: The art of valuing the basketball

5. I can’t wait to see Roberto Mantovani

Roberto Mantovani was born in Cyprus. He’s 6-8, has a shaved head and sports a ferocious beard.

Mantovani played last season with Cuesta College and led the team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (11.0 rpg). Of his 352 rebounds, nearly one-third of them were offensive boards (105). He also averaged 1.25 blocks per game last season.

Here’s a small profile on him via the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Recruiting, especially at this level, is such a crapshoot. I hate talking about recruits because we never really know how someone will respond to the college lifestyle and the demands of Division I basketball.

But this Robert Morris recruiting class intrigues me more than any other in the Toole era, and it starts with Mantovani. He’s profiled as “tenacious on both ends of the floor and welcomes competition” on RMU’s official website. I love to hear that.

As I’ve talked about hundreds of times over the past two years, RMU, at least in my opinion, has gotten away from what they were at the core. Robert Morris basketball was tough, gritty and no non-sense. There was none of that last year. Anyone who can come in with a chip on their shoulder is fine with me.

Although impossible to say for sure, I don’t think Mantovani will have too hard of a time adjusting to Robert Morris. He was born in Cyprus, played Division II hoops in South Carolina and played community college ball in California last season.

It sounds like Mantovani is the ideal center; tough, good touch around the rim (he shot 49.6 percent from the field last season), great rebounder and good size.

He also needs a nickname. I’m not sure what yet, but we’ll figure something out.

–Chris Cappella

@C_Cappella

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