Prep basketball roundup: Coach Ernie Carr mentors 6-foot-11 center Promise Madubugwu

Gardena coach Ernie Carr with 6-11 Promise Madubugwu.
Gardena coach Ernie Carr stands courtside and looks up to 6-foot-11 Promise Madubugwu. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Ernie Carr has been coaching for so many years that people forget he was once the head coach at Dominguez High in the 1980s and served as an assistant to Walt Hazzard at UCLA. Since 1971, he's also coached at UC Irvine, Saddleback College, Compton College, Rio Hondo College and West L.A. College. He's been coaching at Gardena High since 2013.

It's fortuitous that he can use his many years of coaching experience to help the tallest player in the City Section, 6-foot-11 Promise Madubugwu, who is learning how to use his size for the Panthers (11-5). Madubugwu scored 12 points, blocked five shots and had double figures in rebounds during a 49-34 win over University on Tuesday during an opening game of the Ed Baker San Fernando Valley Invitational at Grant.

Read more: Chatsworth gets nod for No. 1 basketball team in City Section rankings

Madubugwu has his own interesting story to tell. He was born in Nigeria and came here when he was 3. He said his mother is 6-foot-4 and father 6-foot-3. His shoe size is so large (19 or 20) that finding ones to fit has been a challenge. He has continued to improve in basketball, but he knows gaining strength and learning to be more physical must be accomplished going forward.

Carr has patiently worked with him and his other players. Gardena is 2-0 in the Marine League, and with Madubugwu, the Panthers have a unique player for City Section basketball.

As for his first name, Madubugwu said his mother told him, "She gave me my name because I was one of God's promises in her life."

Grant 69, Sotomayor 43: Omree Bentov led Grant with 15 points.

Saugus 82, Golden Valley 68: Matt Correa had 20 points and Justin Perez 19 points for the Centurions (13-4).

Valencia 70, Canyon 55: Bryce Bedgood and Jacob Michel-Zavala scored 17 points apiece for Valencia.

Heritage Christian 79, Valley Christian 61: Dillon Shaw scored 28 points and Tae Simmons 20 in an Olympic League opener.

Girls' basketball

Sierra Canyon 96, Harvard-Westlake 39: The Trailblazers cruised to victory in their Mission League opener. Mackenly Randolph scored 28 points, Jerzy Robinson 27 and Izela Arenas 25.

Mater Dei 66, Orange Lutheran 57: The Monarchs won their Trinity League opener behind Jenessa Cotton, who had 32 points and 19 rebounds.

Chaminade 60, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 58: The Eagles hung on for the Mission League win. Payton Montgomery scored 23 points.

Bishop Montgomery 80, St. Mary's Academy 48: Jordin Blackmon scored 20 points for Bishop Montgomery.

St. Anthony 64, La Salle 44: Ryann Bennett finished with 16 points for St. Anthony (12-3) in a Del Rey League opener.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.