May 26, 2012; Newport Beach, CA, USA; USA center John Mann (14) watches the ball go over the goal in the second half against Croatia during an exhibition series at Newport Harbor High School. Croatia won 8-7. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
Water Polo, another sport where Cal seems to dominate. So, it is not unexpected to see a Cal man with USA Men's Water Polo in London this year. I refer, of course, to John Mann:
John Mann' is an American water polo player. He is a member of the United States men's national water polo team. In 2007 Mann won the 2006-07 Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top male collegiate water polo player. He currently plays in Spain for C.N. Barceloneta.
John Mann has never competed at an Olympics or world championships, but was in the mix for Beijing until late in the process. He scored six goals in helping the team to fourth place at the 2011 FINA World League Super Final in Florence, Italy. In 2009-10, Mann played for club C.N. Barcelona which won the Spanish Cup and the Spanish league title. He was part of the team that took second at the 2008 FINA World League Super Final. Mann scored five goals at the 2007 Pan Am Games, where the U.S. clinched its Beijing Olympic berth. At the 2004 Junior Pan Am Games Mann was the leading scorer and MVP. He scored 10 goals at the 2003 Junior World Championships. Mann played college water polo at UC-Berkeley and won the 2006 Peter J. Cutino Award (the water polo equivalent of the Heisman Trophy) and won the NCAA title that season.
I love how the Heisman of Men's Water Polo is named after the former Cal coach! After the jump, let's learn more about this water superstar! GO BEARS!
The center sets up in front of the opposing team's goalie and scores the most individually (especially during lower level play where flats do not have the required strength to effectively shoot from outside or to penetrate and then pass to teammates like the point guard in basketball). The center's position nearest to the goal allows explosive shots from close-range ("step-out" or "roll-out", "sweep," or backhand shots).
His time at Cal seems exceptional, even for Cal's high bar at water polo:
COLLEGE: 2006 Player of the Year… 2006 Cutino Award Winner… First-Team All-American, All MPSF, and MVP of MPSF Tournament in 2006… First-Team All-American and All-MPSF in 2004 and 2005, leading Bears in scoring for 2005 ... In 2003, finished with 22 goals as a true freshman and was the Bears’ top scorer in six matches... Scored a goal against eventual national champion USC in the Bears’ overtime victory in semifinals of the 2003 Stanford Invitational... Tallied goals against Long Beach State and USC in MPSF Tournament... Featured as a top freshman athlete in September 9, 2003 and March 25, 2004 issues of Sports Illustrated’s On Campus.
"This has been a long journey for John and we are all very excited about his selection to the Olympics," said Cal water polo coach Kirk Everist, a member of the 1992 and 1996 USA Olympic Teams who coached Mann at Cal from 2003-06. "John has done a tremendous job securing his place on this Olympic team and is definitely ready for London."
Good luck in London, John, and GO BEARS!