Volume 95, Issue 75

Thursday, February 14, 2002

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'Big Daddy' and the silent assassin fuel the Mustang basketball stampede

Is hockey still "our" sport

Congdon snaps at chance

A Western send-off to Salt Lake

Strip down and run

'Big Daddy' and the silent assassin fuel the Mustang basketball stampede

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

Chris Brown and Chedo Ndur, starting centre and forward respectively of the Western Mustangs men's basketball team, can be described as pillars the foundation supporting one of the strongest hoops programs in Canada.

One perfects his craft in the open, while the other lurks in the shadows.

Their names have been echoing throughout Alumni Hall for five years now. Unfortunately, Brown and Ndur's storied university careers come to an abrupt end at the season's conclusion.

"Chris and Chedo have meant so much to the program, for so many years. It's almost like part of the program goes missing," said Mustang head coach Craig Boydell.

The 6'8" Brown a beast on the court, but a gentle giant off it has played the game of basketball seemingly forever. He tailored himself into a force for the historically formidable London John Paul II Jaguars Secondary School team.

Obviously a well-grounded man, Brown said his parents have been the greatest influence on his development as a player.

"My parents always supported me no matter what the circumstances and have made my five years at Western much more enjoyable," Brown said. "They've taught me valuable life lessons teamwork, effort and enjoyment"

Niru Somayajula/Gazette
THEY ACT TOUGH, BUT WE HEAR CHEDO HAS A NIGHT LIGHT AND CHRIS STILL SUCKS HIS THUMB. The dynamic duo of Chedo Ndur and Chris Brown have made an impression on the Mustangs.

Brown is averaging 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, the latter figure placing him seventh in Ontario University Athletics.

Boydell, who has witnessed the low-post dominance of Brown firsthand, noted his importance on the court. "Chris is obviously somebody who every team has to contend with. He gives us so many options because other team's game plans focus on how they're going to deal with him down low."

But the road hasn't always been smooth for Brown.

Flashback to the semi-finals of the 2000 national championship in Halifax and the definition of a nightmare. With less than two seconds remaining in a tie game against the Brandon Bobcats, Brown inbounded a court-length pass that was picked off by guard Josh Masters. Masters then drained a half court buzzer-beater to oust the Mustangs from championship contention.

The shot heard around Canada graced the highlight reels of virtually every major sports show. However, Brown may receive another chance to make amends in Halifax this year.

"We have wanted to win it the last couple of years for guys like Nat Graham, Micah Bourdeau, Matt Tweedie and Rich Tamminga," Brown said.

"Chedo and I realize this is our last 'tour of duty' and would like nothing better than to win a title for ourselves, but more importantly for everyone involved with the team," he added.

Brown, nicknamed the 'Big Daddy,' is putting the finishing touches on an honours history degree and plans to pursue a career in teaching, but a trip over the Atlantic may also be in the works.

"I would like to play overseas professionally for a few years," Brown said. "I have a Scottish passport and it's easier to catch on with a team when you have a European passport."


Confucius once said, "A man should say... I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known."

While the media converges like pigs at a trough on players like All-Canadian forward Andy Kwiatkowski, as well as point guard Jimmy Grozelle, Chedo Ndur has perfected his game in the shadows.

"Chedo is a very humble individual," said Mustangs centre Kelsey Green. "He enjoys the game and isn't concerned with getting in the spotlight. Nonetheless, his teammates and everyone around the league know exactly what he brings to the table."

Specifically, Ndur brings a passion for defense rarely seen in the offensively-driven modern game.

"Chedo has evolved into just a tremendous defender," Boydell said. "The opposition's best player is going to have a heck of a time for 40 minutes and teams that don't deal with [Ndur], do it at their own peril."

Ndur averages 8.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and is second on the team with 30 steals. But statistics aren't a true indication of Ndur's presence the forward produces intangibles that don't appear on a box score.

The disappointments of national championships past have had a similar effect on Ndur and he echoes his fellow teammates' sentiment. "It's difficult to express how badly I want to win the national championship. This is 'the year' this is what it's all about for a lot of the graduating players."

Ndur played his high school basketball in St. Thomas at St. Joseph's Secondary School and said he credits much of his development to the timely tutelage he received during those high school years.

Majoring in economics, Ndur will not willingly give up the love of the hardwood either. "It would be great if the trip the team has tentatively planned for Europe this summer created contacts to play professionally. However, I eventually will return to Western and obtain my MBA."

Concrete evidence is the most compelling indicator of success. During Brown and Ndur's tenure, the Mustangs have notched a record of 144-22, snagged two Wilson Cup victories as champion of the OUA and competed in the national championships three times.

Undoubtedly, the foundation of Mustangs men's basketball will not crumble with the departure of Brown and Ndur. The coaching staff is too rooted in success and the emerging stars like guards Adam Peaker and Scott Seeley and forwards Nick Salomons and Sagar Desai will admirably fill the void.

Nevertheless, it just won't be the same without the 'Big Daddy' sauntering out during the introductions or Ndur altering a game with a pick of a pocket.

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