Fundraiser for Nnamdi Okongwu’s family coming up

The community efforts to help the family of former Chino Hills basketball player Nnamdi Okongwu are ongoing. Okongwu, 17, passed away last month after sustaining a head injury while skateboarding.

A bingo fundraiser will be held at 1 p.m., Sunday  in the small gym at Chino Hills High School.

Also a fundraiser at Roscoes Famous Deli in Chino Hills Thursday, August 7th 11am- to closing. Roscoe’s will donate 15% of your purchase to the family fund.

Donations are also being taken at www.gofundme.com/4unnamdi

Donnie Greene of Upland headed to Fresno State

Upland High School offensive lineman Donnie Greene has made a verbal commitment to Fresno State. He visited the school earlier this week and made his commitment on the spot.

“It really seemed like a close-knit family with the players and coaches. I really liked that,” he said.

Greene, who will make the move from left tackle to center this year, said he also liked the community involvement in the football program as well as the fact its relatively close to home. The fact that the Bulldogs run a high-tempo offense is also a plus.

“Football is a big part of the community three,” he said. “The whole town is focused on it so its a great atmosphere.”

Greene is a four-year varsity player. He transferred from Victor Valley to Upland the second semester of his freshman year.

He is the fourth Upland player to commit to a Division I school before the season has even started. Greene also visited USC, Cal and San Jose State. He also went to Utah on an unofficial trip with a former teammate two years ago.

Greene plans to major in kinesiology with emphasis on exercise science.

Upland’s Josh Woods decides on UCLA

Upland High School outside linebacker Josh Woods has made a verbal commitment to UCLA. He also visited USC and was considering trips to Boise State and Arizona as well.

He had a handful of other offers too – Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State, Boise State and Nevada.

“I wanted to stay close so my family and friends could come see me play,” he said. “t will be a great education and I really like the campus, the coaching staff, the players and what the program has to offer.”

Woods, a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, transferred from Victor Valley High School after his sophomore year but was ruled ineligible by the CIF last year so he had to sit out.

He never lost faith that would prove costly. What most likely helped was Woods’ showing at a handful of camps and combines. He participated in the Army All-American Combine in Texas as well as one sponsored by Rivals at Fullerton College and the Nike Football Training Combine at Redondo Union High School.

Having to sit out last year has only served as more incentive for Woods this year, The Highlanders are expected to be one of the best teams in the Inland Empire with two others who have already committed to Pac 12 schools in quarterback Tyler Hilinski and defensive back Kameron Powell.

Etiwanda baseball standout Kyle Isbel commits to UNLV

Etiwanda High School infielder Kyle Isbel has made a verbal commitment to UNLV

He also visited a number of Division I schools including USC, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge but decided he’d take the option out of state.

“I like the atmosphere there and the new facilities,” he said. “I spent a lot of time with the coaches and got to talk to some of the players and it seemed like a great fit.”

It helped that Isbel has another good friend going there in Austin Pritchard of Riverside J.W. North who has also committed to the school.

Isbel hit .347 with seven doubles and 14 RBI as a junior for the Eagles, earning second team All-Baseline League honors. He plans to major in business or sports medicine.

UNLV finished first in the Mountain West Conference last year. The team was 36-25 overall and 20-10 in conference play.

 

Hailey Freeman of Etiwanda headed to Grand Canyon

 

Etiwanda High School softball standout Hailey Freeman (left) has made a verbal commitment to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz.

Grand Canyon had been an NCAA Division II school but recently made the jump to Division I and has forked a lot of money into new athletic facilities.

Freeman, a third baseman who will be a junior in the fall, helped the Eagles to a second place showing in the Baseline League last spring as a sophomore.

She picked that school over Northeastern State and Southern Utah, after visiting the campus last week. It also helps that good friend and teammate Megan Stevens is also going to that school. The two have been playing on the same team since they were 8 years old.

“I was going to wait to decide until maybe the end of my junior year but I really liked it when I went to visit,” she said.

She plans to major in criminal justice or forensics.

Here’s what Huskies’ basketball coach Steve Baik says about Nnamdi Okongwu

Today we lost a significant member in our community. Nnamdi Okongwu was heading into his senior year at Chino Hills High and was one of the best basketball players in California. Tragically, he lost his life due to a head injury while skateboarding.

I feel it is my privilege to recognize and honor one of the most special individuals I have ever known. I loved him for his amazing heart as a person.

This past Friday, Nnamdi had a break from summer school, so he spent his day helping kids at our Summer Basketball Camp. He will be remembered for his amazing, God-given talents. As a basketball player, he had unbelievable natural skills and potential. (He was being recruited by several Division 1 Colleges)

He just loved people and was at his best just being a son, a brother, a friend and a teammate. I would sometimes ask him about his family, and he would always light up talking about them. He often bragged that his younger brothers were going to be better basketball players than him. I could always sense that he was so proud of being a big brother to his siblings and a son to such loving and hard working parents.

Although we cannot comprehend why this has happened to such a special individual, all we know is that Nnamdi was like a seed planted in this world that brought us so much love and joy. His physical life may have ended today, but his legacy as a person will carry on. We will not shrink back and fear because of an accident like this.

We may have lost Nnamdi in this life, but it is only temporary. We will look forward to have eternity with him one day. We will not fear death. We will not fear life.

We will move forward and become better for having known someone so special. We will have a greater love for those around us by being better coaches, parents, sons and daughters, better friends and better teammates.

We will always remember Nnamdi’s big smile and will look forward to seeing it again one day. Our loss today is Heaven’s gain, and we look forward to seeing you again Nnamdi!

With all of our love,

Coach Baik and Your Chino Hills Family

Please support Nnamdi’s family now by donating to them at: www.gofundme.com/4unnamdi

Chino Hills basketball player in bad shape after skateboard accident

Chino Hills High School basketball player Nnamdi Okongwu is in a hospital after a skateboarding accident left him in a coma.

Huskies basketball coach Steve Baik was on vacation in Hawaii when notified of the accident in a text from his athletic director so he knew few details.

The 6-foot-9 center, who will be a senior in the fall, was an integral factor in the Huskies Sierra League title and postseason run. The honorable mention All-Inland Valley selection helped the Huskies to a spot in the Southern Section Open Division championship game where they lost to nationally ranked No. 1 Mater Dei at the Honda Center.

Chino Hills played in the state portion of the playoffs in Division I and made the South Region championship before losing to Corona Centennial at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena.

 

Cayer named athletic director at Ganesha

Don Cayer has been named athletic director at Ganesha High School.

He previously served as a teacher at Fremont, which doesn’t have athletics. He was also football coach at Pomona for two years before moving over to Ganesha. He served as assistant athletic director last year so the responsibilities won’t be new to him.

Cayer is also the school’s head football coach, a position he took a year ago. The school district has restructured its staff positions so Cayer will have much of the school day to get administrative things done before heading to practice.

“It  should work out. At least that’s the plan,” he said.

Kaiser’s Chris Mathewson named second-team All-American

There is yet one more honor for Kaiser High School baseball standout Chris Mathewson.

The senior pitcher-first baseman was named a second-team All-American by MaxPreps.  He batted .511 (45 for 88) with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 33 RBI and 37 runs scored but was an even bigger factor on the mound. He went 9-2 with an 0.79 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 62 innings.

It is the latest of many accolades. Mathewson, who has signed with Long Beach State, was a first-team All-CIF selection and was a first-team All-State honoree by CalHiSports which also named him Medium Schools Player of the Year.

Mathewson was also an All-Inland Valley selection.

Webb quarterback Kienan Dixon to head East

Webb junior receiver Kienan Dixon loses the ball with Army-Navy sophomore defensive back Cameron Coe providing tight coverage

Kienan Dixon of Webb School will attend and play football at NCAA Division III Dickinson College (Penn.).

The Upland native threw for 1,050 yards with seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 10 games last year for the Gauls (3-7).

Dickinson, a liberal-arts college that is home to 2,400 students from across the nation and around the world, competes in the Centennial Conference. The Red Devils were 3-7 overall, 3-6 in conference play.