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The Ultimate Warrior

Boys’ Basketball

Mamadou Ndiaye, a 7-foot-5 center who towers above opponents, has become a national sensation at tiny Brethren Christian and has the Warriors dreaming big in CIF.

February 15, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
  • Brethren Christian's Mamadou Ndiaye, right, who stands 7 feet 5, towers above most high school opponents, such as Crean Lutheran's Jordan Franks in a recent Academy League game. On the season, Ndiaye averaged 23.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and five blocks a game.
Brethren Christian's Mamadou Ndiaye, right, who… (KEVIN CHANG, HB…)

Mamadou Ndiaye stands head and shoulders — sometimes a foot, even half a torso — above most players on the court. Literally.

In two weeks, the 7-foot-5 junior — believed to be the tallest high school player in the country — could be standing tall at center court with his Brethren Christian teammates.

Brethren Christian, which last week captured its fourth straight Academy League championship in boys' basketball, is in the CIF Southern Section Division 5AA playoffs this week. The Warriors, who were 10-0 in league and 22-5 overall, are ranked seventh in the division. They took on Animo Leadership of Inglewood on Wednesday, but the score wasn't available at press time. Should the Warriors beat Animo, they'll play a second-round game at 7 p.m. Friday.

Much of the Warriors' success this season can be attributed to Ndiaye.

Thanks to his massive frame, the opposition has to work around Ndiaye wherever he is on the floor. In a league game against Crean Lutheran of Irvine on Jan. 31 — a 65-38 BC victory — six of Ndiaye's 20 points came on dunks, and he even hit a three-pointer. He also corralled 19 rebounds — some of themflat-footed, others by volleying the ball to himself over the head and futile reach of an exasperated defender — and blocked five shots.

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"His presence really changes the whole game...he really does," Crean Lutheran Coach Dan Fink said after his Saints faced and lost for a second time this season to the Warriors. "We have a few guys who are big, but he (Ndiaye) just alters the game. That gives their defenders the opportunity to cover our guards and sag on our guys. He really has a huge outcome on the game."

Ndiaye is in his first year at Brethren Christian. BC Coach Jon Bahnsen said Ndiaye, who was born in the West African country of Senegal, transferred to Brethren Christian from Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley last year at second semester. He lives with his guardians in Huntington Beach, and his guardians have not granted media requests to talk with the 18-year-old, Bahnsen said.

"They want him to have as much 'normalcy' as possible," Bahnsen said.

Ndiaye has let his game speak for itself. For the season, he is averaging 23.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and five blocks a game. His highs in any single game this year have been 40 points, 24 rebounds and 15 blocks.

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