Manteca High boys basketball coach Brett Lewis said there has been little interest from college coaches when it comes to Anand Hundal, a blossoming 6-foot-8 center whose game has grown leaps and bounds in the past year.
That may change soon for the young junior who celebrates his 16th birthday today (he skipped a grade in elementary school). The Buffaloes are off to a 2-0 start in the Valley Oak League and he is a big reason why.
The rare triple-double twice eluded him last week in victories over Manteca Unified rivals Lathrop and Weston Ranch. At Lathrop he racked up 21 points, eight rebounds and nine blocks … after sitting out the first quarter for arriving to practice late. Last Thursday he had 16, 10 and nine against Weston Ranch.
It’s not the first time he’s come close.
Hundal was two rebounds shy of a triple-double in a 44-42 loss to 13-1 Calaveras in Riverbank’s Ron Peterson Tip-Off Tournament championship game. That is also the only time he broke double digits in blocks (11). Two weeks later he turned in best effort — 22 points, 21 rebounds, eight blocks — of the season in a 56-50 loss to powerhouse Cosumnes Oaks.
Hundal ranks third in the state with 85 blocked shots, according to MaxPreps, but is No. 1 in per-game average with 6.1.
“He’s not explosive,” Lewis said. “Love the kid to death but he can barely jump over a quarter. He’s smart; he knows to stay on the ground and not (bite) on pump fakes. He also has great timing.”
Hundal is no one-trick pony, as two league opponents discovered last week. He is Manteca’s leading scorer (13.5 points per game) and rebounder (9.7) and is an adept passer from the low block and the high post.
“I call it our run game,” Lewis said. “Most good football teams have a good run game and he gives us that ability to slow the game down. Offensively he’s getting way more comfortable inside with his back to the basket and he already has a nice jumper. The stats don’t show it but he sees the floor really well and is a great passer.”
Hundal and the Buffaloes (10-4 overall) are sure to be challenged over their next three contents. Tonight, they welcome Kimball and its two big post players in Peter Van Katwyk (6-6) and Josh Carpenter (6-5). On Thursday they host 6-8 Jordan Boddie and Central Catholic, the VOL’s tallest team. But none will be as highly-anticipated as the Jan. 20 date with rival Sierra, anchored by Sacramento State-bound Joshua Patton. The 6-8 standout is the reigning league MVP.
No slowing Sierra
No boys team had as dominant a start to league as Sierra, which routed Oakdale and East Union by a combined 142-79 score.
The Timberwolves have the best overall record among Manteca area teams at 13-1 and avenged their only loss against Bear Creek. Like Manteca, the Timberwolves enter their most important stretch with Central Catholic, Kimball and the Buffaloes coming in succession.
Tonight they host league newcomer Central Catholic, which went 1-2 against Sierra from 2009-11.
Off the snide
Second-year head coaches Ryan Tarr and Nathan McGrath are seeking out their first VOL win of the season tonight when their rebuilding squads square off.
Tarr and East Union are trying to end a four-game skid that has included close losses to Riverbank and Kimball. A victory for the Lancers (0-2, 6-9) would match their win total in league from a year ago. Lathrop (0-2, 1-14) has lost three in a row and is coming off blowout defeats by Manteca and Central Catholic.
The two teams have twice crossed paths already, but they did not play each other in the Modesto City Classic and Tracy-West Winter Holiday Classic.
On the girls side, 15-0 Kimball emphatically opened its VOL title defense by drubbing perennial contender East Union and Oakdale by more than 30 points each.
The other two Manteca schools will take their best shot at one of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s best teams this week, as Sierra (1-1, 5-9) welcomes Kimball on Wednesday while Manteca (1-1, 9-6) visits the Tracy campus Friday.