Florida State basketball player Terance Mann is commonly described as the glue for his teammates.
Seminoles assistant coach Charlton Young says that without prompting.
Mann’s mother, Daynia La-Force, endorses the glue concept. And in this case “Mother Knows Best.” She not only watches the upcoming 6-foot-6, 204-pound junior through a mother’s eyes but also brings the view of a successful basketball coach. La-Force is the head coach for the women’s team at the University of Rhode Island.
What exactly is a player who is described as “the glue?”
“Last year that is the label they gave me,” says Mann. “It meant just keeping the team together. I was a team captain and had to do a lot of things to keep the team moving in the right direction and making sure we were all on the same page, on the court making sure we were doing all the little stuff to give us the wins.”
Young defines the role of the glue player even further: “He is the guy who does whatever it takes on and off the court to win. Terance is a great ambassador for our program — a great leader and representative Florida State University.”
And mom also contributes, again, not just from a mother’s view but also as a head coach.
“Describing him that way makes my family proud,” La-Force says. “The role of bringing the team together is important and can’t be overlooked. He is coach Ham’s (Leonard Hamilton, FSU head coach) coach on the court. Every head coach needs that type of player.
“He places the team first so the family can be successful. As the son of a coach he has been programmed to think team first but I also think he can be more selfish.”
Mann fits the team concept almost too perfectly.
He has been described as a stat stuffer and, at times, too much of a team player. Despite being just a sophomore, he was one of two Seminoles selected by the coaches and players to serve as a team captain.
Mann credits his mother for helping foster his leadership qualities. He wears the same number 14 that she wore at Georgetown.
“She emphasizes to be positive all the time,” Mann said. “Don’t disrespect your teammates or coaches. Everyone I meet starts off with 100 percent of my respect. That is how I live my life.”
His 2017 stats reflect the team-first attitude for a Seminole squad that finished 26-9 (12-6 in Atlantic Coast Conference, tied for second overall) and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. The criminal justice major, who started 34 of 35 games (Hamilton started all seniors in the home finale) averaged 8.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
“Playing in the ACC has been a dream come true,” Mann said. “I remember watching ACC games on TV growing up. Now I am playing in those TV games. That is just crazy–a big time dream come true. It’s crazy to know I am in this position.”
The craziness is bolstered by the fact that at least twice a season the opposition includes his best friend, Miami’s Bruce Brown, and Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson who played on the same AAU team as Mann.
Mann and Young have been close for quite a long time.
Terance was on Young’s radar starting in seventh grade after crossing paths with his mother at a coaching clinic.
Young eventually became a mentor for Terance, talking before and after games. Eventually Young was recruiting Mann, first for Georgia Southern where he was head coach and then Florida State. How deep was the relationship? The fact that Mann committed to FSU before ever visiting the campus is a large indicator.
“I trusted CY,” Mann says. “Growing up through high school he was always there for me.”
Don’t get the idea that Terance was a wall flower in the recruiting process. He narrowed is final six schools to a group that included two from the ACC and one each from the Big 10, Pac-12, Big East and Atlantic 10. At one point the Pac-12 school was the leader because he wanted to “go west but that was just a phase I went thru.”
The 2017-18 campaign for the Seminoles promises to be different for Mann, who is the sole returning starter from a year ago.
Gone to the NBA are leading scorers Dwayne Bacon (17.2 ppg), Jonathan Isaac (12.0) and Xavier Rathan-Mayes (10.6).
Also missing is graduated senior Michael Ojo (4.9), who was a team captain with Mann and starter in 34 of the Seminoles’ 35 game.
That takes away plenty of firepower, and Mann will likely be asked to become somewhat selfish, especially on offense.
The team is currently on an NCAA approved three game trip to Jamaica after 10 practices in Tallahassee, where Mann again displayed his leadership abilities.
“My role is to make sure the freshmen know what is going on,” Mann says. “They have a lot happening — classes at 8 a.m. with weight training, practices and pick-up games. I see it as my responsibility that they stay focused with the goal to get us back to where we were.”
The trip is expected to build the foundation for this year’s team which, after losing so many players from a year ago, is flying under the national radar.
“This year my main goal is to have everyone on the team believe we are a Final Four-type team. Just because we lost or top scorers does not mean we can’t be good again,” Mann said. “Folks don’t realize how deep our bench was last year and the quality of our freshman class.
I saw where someone picked us to finish 13th and another has us ninth in the conference. Our goal will be to prove everyone wrong.”