Can Nico "Red Mamba" Mannion bring Pac-12 basketball out of its funk? We'll find out next winter

By Connor Buestad |

It has been well documented that the Pac-12 conference has stumbled on some hard times on both the hardwood and the gridiron over the last few years. Proud to be known as the Conference of Champions, the Pac has recently been relegated to the “First Four” play-in game on the Tuesday night before the tournament and early December bowl games in half-empty stadiums. However, you can’t keep a great conference down for long, and we know it is only a matter of time before the likes of Arizona basketball and USC football will get their ducks in order and start winning on a national level once again. One intriguing athlete that hopes to expedite that process is Nico Mannion, also known as the Red Mamba. If you haven’t heard of him, now you have, thanks to a brilliant piece of writing by SI’s Chris Ballard below. If that’s not enough, hear from the player himself in the mini-doc below as well. I can hardly wait until Gus Johnson gets a hold of this young gunner when he catches fire in March somewhere.