Gilbert Christian’s top-ranked (Division III) boys basketball team will face a great challenge this week in The Christian Cup, which will feature two of the nation’s most interesting players.
One of them is 7-foot-5, 310-pound senior Mamadou Ndiaye of Brethren Christian out of Huntington Beach, Calif. He has committed to UC-Irvine. Ndiaye plays for a school of about 250 that doesn’t have a gym. He came to the United States from Senegal in 2010.
The other is 6-8 forward Austin Nichols, a five-star player from Briarcrest Christian in Eads, Tenn. He was Memphis’ top recruit for the 2013 class. Nichols was also offered by Duke, Tennessee and Virginia. It has been reported that Nichols and his dad put together a 58-page report breaking down the college options, before committing to Memphis.
Gilbert Christian, Arizona’s returning D.III champion, has a very good team, led by 6-7 junior swingman Sam Jones. It won its first four games to open this season, but the competition picks up considerably in The Christian Cup, which runs Thursday through Saturday at Gilbert Christian’s huge, state-of-the art gymnasium (3632 E. Jasper Dr.).
This is the second year for the Cup. Lynden Christian of Lynden, Wash., also won a state championship last season.
Other teams playing are Chandler Valley Christian, Phoenix Northwest Christian, Solana Beach (Calif.) Santa Fe Christian and Las Cruces (N.M.) Mesilla Valley Christian.
Games starts at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with Lynden against Santa Fe, followed by Valley Christian against Brethren (5 p.m.), Mesilla Valley against Gilbert (6:30) and Briarcrest against Northwest (8).
The winners advance to Friday’s 6:30 and 8 semifinals. The losers play at 3:30 and 5. Saturday’s championship game is at 6 p.m. The third-place game is at 4:30. The consolation championship is at 3 p.m.
Monarch Sports and Colorado Christian University are presenting the tournament. Colorado Christian is a prvate, interdenominational Christian college in Lakewood, Colo.
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