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'Big Daddy' and the silent assassin fuel the Mustang
By Jordan Bell
|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
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.
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"
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
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
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