Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

24-year-old Alex Manfredi becomes one of the youngest directors of basketball operations in the country

When Alex Manfredi was announced as the newest director of basketball operations for Long Beach State Athletics, it made him one of the youngest ever to hold his position in the nation.

At 24 years old, Manfredi is the same age as the oldest player on the Long Beach State men’s basketball team and 35 years younger than head coach Dan Monson.

“When you meet Alex, he’s an impressive person. He’s mature beyond 24 years,” Monson said. “Everybody tells me age is just a number. And for somebody young, I’d say the same for him. There are 35-year-olds doing that job that don’t have as much experience as he does.”

Manfredi will be responsible for many off-the-court duties pertaining to game preparation, postgame film reviews, coordinating scheduling among other responsibilities.

After working as a graduate assistant for two years, Manfredi announced his promotion on Twitter in August. The move represented another step forward in Manfredi’s basketball career, who comes from a basketball family.

His grandfather, Al Manfredi, was a head coach at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, and his father, Ken Manfredi, is a head coach at Franklin High School in Elk Grove. Both had also previously played basketball at the collegiate level.

Photo credit: LBSU Athletics
Alex Manfredi helps coaches and players during team practices and even stays after hours to help players develop their skills more.
Photo credit: LBSU Athletics

Manfredi played high school basketball but his college basketball ties came through a keyboard and a pen rather than the hardwood and the paint.

Manfredi majored in journalism at LBSU and pondered a career in sports journalism, so he covered the men’s basketball team for the Daily Forty-Niner as an undergraduate before realizing he wanted to do more with the team.

When he returned to LBSU for a master’s degree in sports management, associate head coach Myke Scholl got him to join the team as a graduate assistant.

For Manfredi, this was a shift to what he had become accustomed to as a sports writer.

“Covering the team as a writer, you still have limited access. You’re really only talking to them after games, then sometimes when you come to practice,” Manfredi said. “But then it went from maybe twice a week to seeing them six days a week for four hours a day minimum.”

But during Manfredi’s second year as a graduate assistant with the team, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the season and most of the program’s staff went on leave. However, his work during that time caught the eyes of fellow staff members like Scholl, which led to his promotion.

“He was instrumental last year with a skeleton staff as a grad assistant,” Scholl said. “He basically became our video coordinator and was just very, very good. So when our ops position opened up, we’re like, ‘He’s a double grad, he’s been here, he really helped us through this pandemic.’ And, although he’s young, he was the right guy for the job.”

Scholl also said that along with Manfredi’s age, his adeptness with technology, his people skills and his connection with the student-athletes all played an imperative part in his promotion.

Manfredi is still around the age of many athletes on the roster, like senior guard Colin Slater, who Manfredi has worked with for over two seasons. Slater regards Manfredi as a true friend and praised his professionalism and attitude.

“His personality won’t go out of style,” Slater said. “There’s never a day where he doesn’t smile, and I naturally gravitate towards that.”

However, the promotion has had challenges. He’s constantly learning on the go with frequent tasks.

Game days require him to organize morning shootarounds, order meals for players, do pregame equipment checks, upload film postgame to the Synergy database and send cut-up film to coaches to review.

Non-game days entail planning the off-court work for the team. He books guest speakers, executes tasks for coaches and fills in the gaps if the graduate assistants aren’t available.

Manfredi has aspirations of working for a Power Five conference school or at the professional level, perhaps in an NBA team front office or even the NBA league office. Monson said Manfredi’s personal goal is to be the general manager of the Sacramento Kings, his hometown team.

However, before Manfredi thinks ahead, he is committed to LBSU.

“You gotta be patient and be willing to put in the time at one place,” Manfredi said. “A lot of times, if you stick somewhere, you can work your way up. I think a lot of people, especially our age that are younger because we’re in a generation where it’s like, we need stuff at the tip of our fingers. But I think we have to adjust that and get back to, ‘We got to put in work, put in the time.'”

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