King/Drew senior forward Uchenna Ndigwe helps run events on campus through his Leadership class and as a student ambassador (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The day of King/Drew Medical Magnet basketball player Uchenna Ndigwe’s senior night game was eventful. As he prepared for his final in-season home game as a high school student, he had to help the school run their 11th annual career day.

“I’m head of all the escorts: the career day speakers,” Ndigwe said. “I’m in charge of the kids who will go get those escorts and take them to their classes.”

This is one of the tasks that he has to do as a student ambassador at King/Drew along with doing outreach events and hosting campus tours.

Maintaining his duties as a student ambassador along with studying for challenging classes and preparing make a deep run in the City Section Open Division Playoffs can be stressful.

“I’ve had times where I really stressed myself coming home from practice late and have to go home and do my homework,” Ndigwe said. “It really means time management and prioritizing your stuff above everything else.”

The skills he learned as a captain of the Golden Eagles would be translated to his role as a student ambassador. Playing basketball has given him the confidence to delegate tasks.

“I talk to students I’m in charge of like I talk to my teammates,” Ndigwe said. “At the end of the day, it’s really just business and if you have the understanding of what we both need to get out of it, we’ll get the best out of it.”

The stakes are high on the court as well as off, Ndigwe helped the Golden Eagles boy’s basketball team go undefeated in the Coliseum League. This is their first year with this league which houses former State Champions the View Park Knights.

“We’re a competitive team, we like to play defense, we can all score the ball,” he said. “I feel like we really match up well against all of the Open Division teams.”

Another challenge for Ndigwe is his AP Calculus and AP Economics classes. His teachers are there to guide him through the rigorous course work and offer resources to help students like him.

“It’s been really hard because I have a lot of tests to study for and sometimes basketball and AP Calculus doesn’t always agree,” Ndigwe said. “But I think I’m doing a pretty good job; I still maintain the high GPA that I need.”

His favorite class, Leadership, allows him to see what goes into planning and hosting major events at King/Drew. For the class, he sets up concession stands for games and help run the homecoming dance. While hanging out with friends during the dance, he had to help the other Leadership students with issues that arose. He called the experience “eye opening.”

“You really got to see the behind-the-scenes of setting up homecoming, finding the venue, the stress it was,” Ndigwe said. “Getting to set up early, leaving late for clean-up and just making sure that everything was running smoothly.”

The Los Angeles Lakers battling the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals was the first basketball game that Ndigwe watched. Seeing NBA icon Kobe Bryant scoring against the Celtics left a lasting impact.

“May he rest in peace, Kobe Bryant will always inspire me,” Ndigwe said. “I love his work ethic; I love how he hustles no matter what.”

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