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They are going big in Division 4AA basketball playoffs

Several teams feature tall players, which should make for spirited games.

February 15, 2012|Eric Sondheimer
  • Harvard-Westlake's Zena Edosomwan figures to play a leading role in the Wolverines' postseason hopes.
Harvard-Westlake's Zena Edosomwan figures to play a leading role… (Katie Falkenberg / For The…)

There are so many tall basketball players in the Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs that size 15 shoes and above should be considered the norm.

"I can put both of my feet in one of their shoes," Studio City Harvard-Westlake Coach Greg Hilliard said of the size 17 shoes worn by 6-foot-9 David Winfield and 6-8 Zena Edosomwan.

The Wolverines could use a bus with extra space between seats to handle their abundance of big men that also includes 6-7 Josh Hearlihy and 6-5 Derick Newton.

La Verne Lutheran has 6-10 Grant Jerrett. Los Angeles Price has 6-8 Skylar Spencer and 6-7 Khalil Johnson. Gardena Serra has 6-10 Emmanuel Ndumanya. Torrance Bishop Montgomery has 6-10 Stefan Jovanovic. West Hills Chaminade has 6-8 Jack Williams.

"If I could just talk someone into giving us some points because we're taller," Hilliard said.

Of course, all the tall players look small when compared with 7-5 Mamadou Ndiaye, who plays for Huntington Beach Brethren Christian in the 5AA playoffs.

The basketball madness begins Wednesday night in 4AA with first-round games.

"It's going to be fun," Hilliard said. "It's definitely the strongest division from top to bottom that I've been involved with. You really feel the pressure of one and done. It makes you be sharp from the start."

Headed home

When Jack McDowell was a pitching standout at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the early 1980s, umpires frequently found themselves receiving an earful from a teenager unafraid to express his feelings, because he hated to lose.

He didn't change much at Stanford or in the major leagues, where he won the American League Cy Young Award in 1993 with the Chicago White Sox.

At 46 and in his second year as head coach at San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas, McDowell jokes, "That's my biggest accomplishment with umpires — staying in games."

McDowell is returning to his alma mater Saturday to play in the alumni game — "don't underestimate the power of Advil and nothing to lose" — and to be inducted Feb. 25 into the Notre Dame Hall of Fame.

"It should be fun," he said. "Everything I've experienced positive and negative from a player's standpoint goes into how I deal with kids now."

One of the players on his San Dieguito team is his son, Lucas, a 6-6 junior center fielder. McDowell also has a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, from a second marriage.

"Coaching my kids I've found is the hardest thing," he said.

He still can pitch batting practice, though his arm is hurting from spending so much time helping construct a clubhouse.

"I did a little too much painting and can't lift my arm," he said.

That's not going to prevent him from doing his best in the alumni game, though.

"I'm definitely going to play and swing it," he said.

Another Drew

Senior guard Landon Drew of Los Angeles Fairfax has picked up a scholarship offer from Cal State Northridge. His older brother, Larry Jr., is a redshirt at UCLA.

To the point

When are UCLA and USC going to offer a scholarship to junior point guard London Perrantes of Encino Crespi?

If not, he'll be heading out of town, and we'll be seeing the stories again about a "Southern California player who got away."

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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