January 27, 2015

Hundal bears watching

Kevin McCarthy

With Kiwi Gardner as the last Manteca High basketball talent to make noise, it's looking like it's time to make room for 6-foot-8 junior, Anand Hundal.

photo of Anand Hundal

Why? Try 13.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 6.0 blocked shots a game thus far for Coach Brett Lewis. A sampling of his potential: 16 points, 14 boards and nine rejections against Weston Ranch on January 8 and as a result of Hundal's contributions, Manteca sports a 12-4 overall record, 4-0 in Valley Oak League play.

“Anand's just 15, quiet, humble and fundamentally sound,” according to Lewis. “He's not explosive or flashy and can't jump out of the gym. But he leads the state in blocked shots and doesn't get into foul trouble. He can also score and has a nice mid-range jumper.”

Asked what are his best basketball skills, Hundal rather uniquely offered, “Making the right play even if it doesn't involve me scoring.”

As for influences, he is a throwback of sorts: “I grew up watching the Kings and they played as a team. So Vlade Divac because of his hook shot and all around game and Chris Webber because of his passing.” Divac was among the very first European talents to come to the National Basketball Association and was known for his dribbling, passing and cleverness around the rim. Webber is another big noted for his ballhandling.

Hundal's involvement with hoops began early because “my brother is eight years older and I wanted to be like him.”

He entered high school at 6-foot-4 and here is what else is different with his game—“my freshman year to now, my mindset has changed. I didn't take advantage of my skills set. I'm more hungry and controlled. I've become a better shooter and I see the floor much better.”

Being an upperclassmen now, he was asked to recall his best basketball moment. “It's not from a specific time but it's winning a tournament when everyone is playing the right way.”

For those wondering about his academics, Hundal is enrolled in four advanced placement classes this term.

Not anywhere near his ceiling and also young for his class, this is a young man worth watching.