January 30, 2016

It's all upside with Anudokem

Kevin McCarthy

photo of Ugochi Anudokem

Rebounds. Boards. Or going back some years, caroms. Homestead High senior Ugochi Anudokem has been anointed unofficial Bay Area chairwoman of this category since she began playing organized basketball as a sophomore. But she out-did herself on January 15 in a 56-42 victory over rival Cupertino.

Anudokem grabbed an unheard of 35 rebounds, 17 offensive, 18 defensive. She also shot 8-18 on her way to 24 points.

What gives?

“I was just amped up that game,” the 6-foot-1 Anudokem explained. “They [Cupertino} are our bitter rival and we lost to them by two points last year.”

In fact before the game, she told Bob Bramlett, her West Valley Basketball Club travel team coach, “I'm going to explode.”

The screaming Cupertino fans had no effect, or possibly provided some degree of actual inspiration, but to Homestead.The consummate team player, Anudokem wants “our play in that game, bringing out the same amount of energy, to be our new standard” adding “I'm more confident and it really shows. Last year, I was a high scorer and rebounder but a lot more this year.”

She also gives credit to teammate Nicolette Conkin, a senior point. "She is always looking inside to pass me the ball. We play well together.”

This is another positive sign for Homestead. “We're winning against teams we lost to last year. It's been a really good run.”

Talking about the 35/24 night, Bramlett said, “Ugochi was even rebounding shots coming off in the eight to 10-foot range. Think about what that means. It's a combination of timing, desire to get the ball and explosiveness. She would turn to where she thought the ball was coming off. She plays like her uncle.” That being 6-foot-10 Uche Nsonwu who played at Wyoming and overseas professionally.

He added, “Ugochi goes out and does her job. She is humble and respectful -- she gets that from her mother -- but she kicked people's asses in tournaments this summer. A lot of post players went home disappointed.”

The Mustangs sport a 16-2 overall record this season, 6-0 in the El Camino League.