Jahenns Manigat was still wearing a gold-medal glow Monday when he showed up for Creighton’s basketball practice.
The senior guard was reveling in his native country’s hockey victory at the Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia. Canada repeated as Olympic champions with Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Sweden.
“I’m not going to lie,” Manigat said. “I’ve been talking a little trash.”
Especially in conversations with teammates Isaiah Zierden and Geoffrey Groselle, who along with Manigat were perhaps the Bluejays’ most avid followers of the Games.
“Whenever the U.S. would win a gold medal, I’d get a text from those two guys,” Manigat said. “When Canada would win, I made sure to text them.”
Canada made the gold-medal game by defeating the United States in the semifinals. Needless to say, Manigat let Zierden and Groselle know about that one.
“That was a huge day for me,” he said. “And when the U.S. lost to Finland (in the bronze-medal game) and Canada won, I made sure they knew about that.
“I’ve always been a hockey fan, so it was really exciting to see Canada climb the mountain again and have the success that they did. I know people back home are still celebrating, so I’m happy for those guys and proud that I’m a Canadian.”
Manigat was born in Montreal and his family now lives in Ottawa. Zierden also grew up in hockey country. He was born in Wisconsin and went to high school in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park.
Despite their backgrounds, neither Manigat nor Zierden spent much time on the ice as youngsters. Both have their mothers to thank for that.
“I played a little, not a ton,” Zierden said. “My mom wasn’t a big fan of physical sports, and then my parents figured out it cost a lot for equipment. They figured they might as well just get me some shoes and throw me out on the court and see what I could do.”
Manigat said his hockey career ended when he was about 5 or 6 after his mother had watched a game involving his older brother’s team.
“He was about 9 or 10, and she saw my brother get checked into the boards pretty hard,” Manigat said. “He was playing soccer the next week.”
Manigat found himself attracted to basketball. He plays the game with little consideration for his body, leading the team in charges taken the past three seasons and diving for any loose ball he can get his hands on.
“My mom is not a big fan of how I play,” he said, chuckling. “She was here for our games against Georgetown and St. John’s, which just happened to be against two real physical teams. She wasn’t happy at how often I got knocked down or when I’d dive for loose balls.
“She said she won’t be able to take the Big East tournament because she can’t handle the back-to-back-to-back games and the pounding I might take.”
While Manigat was pleased with his country’s showing in Sochi, Zierden was equally proud of what the U.S. did at the Games.
“I’m still a big supporter of the U.S.,” he said. “I root for my country.”
Zierden did have at least one counter to some of the comments Manigat was directing his way.
“I told him, ‘You better beat us at your best sport since it’s probably our fourth-best one,’ ” Zierden said. “Jahenns didn’t agree with that. He’s loving the fact that we got beat.”