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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pinoys in NCAA Basketball

WITH Midnight Madness basketball or the start of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball season upon us, there’ll be plenty of reasons for Pinoy basketball fans to tune in.

While there were only 25 Asians of the 5,100 NCAA college basketball players playing in major division I basketball, according to the NCAA Student-Athlete Ethnicity Report for the 2008-2009 year, there are a handful of players of Filipino descent to watch this upcoming college basketball year.

Basketball is among the more popular sports in the Philippines and many hardcore Filipino fans hope to see one of their own develop to either make it to the NBA or help be part of a revamped Philippine National team trying to make it to the Olympics.

Here are a few standout players of Filipino descent in the upcoming NCAA basketball season:

Christian Standhardinger, University of Nebraska

Christian Standhardinger, originally of Munich, Germany, is half-Filipino and German. His mother is Filipino.

The 6’9", 215 pound small forward is entering his second season at the University of Nebraska. In his first year for the Huskers, he averaged 8.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while hitting 40.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from long range despite missing half the season due to an NCAA ruling. He scored 25 points against Iowa State University.

Prior to joining the Huskers, Standhardinger earned a reputation of being a tough-nosed competitor with an ability to score from anywhere on the court in Germany, according to his University of Nebraska bio. His bio describes him as a player with "good size to play small forward and possesses a solid basketball IQ." He was a member of the German Junior National Team. ESPN scouts described him "a good athlete that runs the floor well and he finishes plays in transition and well as in the half court with his length and athletic ability."

Standhardinger plays in a very competitive division, the Big 12. He’ll be competing against perennially ranked schools like Kansas, Kansas St. and Texas.

Maverick Ahanmisi, University of Minnesota

Maverick (Rick) Ahanmisi from Tarzana, Ca. is half-Filipino and half-Nigerian. He speaks fluent Filipino.

Considered to be one the "premier guards" in Southern California he committed to play for the University of Minnesota, which is ranked 25th nationally.

In high school in Golden Valley and Stoneridge Prep in Tarzana, the 6’2", 175 pound point guard averaged 20 points a game. According to the Signal, he left Golden Valley High School as its all-time leading scorer and 3-point shooter. In his senior year at Golden Valley, he scored 41 points against Foothill High in what they considered one of the greatest playoff performances in Santa Clarita Valley history.

Upon signing him, Golden Gophers coachTubby Smith said, "Maverick is a very good shooter from the perimeter and will help us by stretching the defense."

Ahanmisi’s AAU coach Bob Gottlieb said of him, "He’s the best end-of-game scorer that I’ve had in 45 years of coaching. He’s great in the open court and in a half-court offense. He sees the court very well."

Stephen "Scuba" Holt, St. Mary’s

Holt is half-Filipino. The 6’ 4", 195-pounder is entering his first year at St. Mary’s after being considered one of the top point guard prospects in the West for the class of 2010, according to ESPN.

Holt from Portland, Oregon Jesuit High School, averaged 12.7 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game as a senior. He led his high school team to its second straight Oregon Division 6A state title, scoring 23 points in the title game. The team finished with a 25-2 record. He was named the 2010 Oregon Division 6A State Player of the Year for the second straight season. said Holt is a "quick young point with good vision and feel for the game. Capable shooter and solid decision-maker."

ESPN wrote Holt is a true point guard with ideal size, strength, speed, and quickness to play at the highest level and he’s fundamentally sound.

Other players of Filipino descent playing in either Division I, II or III include Jordan Sanvictores, a 6’6" center from the University of Redlands; Chris Newsome, a 6’2" point guard at the New Mexico Highlands University; Matt Rosser, a 6’4" combo guard/ small forward at Cal Poly Pomona; and Isiah Umipig, a 6’1" point guard at Cal State Fullerton. n
Joseph Pimentel | AJPress Los Angeles
( Published October 16, 2010 in Asian Journal Los Angeles p. A12 )

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