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High school basketball: Knee injury changed Kendal Cudjoe's career path

Last week, Cudjoe was named the new boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Douglass High School. But it was a serious knee injury a little more than a decade ago that sent Cudjoe's career down the path to coaching.
by Scott Wright Published: April 28, 2013
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/articleid/3804366/1/pictures/2037304">Photo -  Kendal Cudjoe, Northwest boys basketball coach, poses for a photo during winter high school sports photo day at OPUBCO in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Kendal Cudjoe, Northwest boys basketball coach, poses for a photo during winter high school sports photo day at OPUBCO in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

His past gives him a unique perspective on an official's job during the game.

“I enjoy coaching more than officiating,” he said. “I know exactly what those guys are going through. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that during the course of the game when a call doesn't go my way.

“They're human. Even the best officials at the NBA level miss calls. It helps me understand what they're going through, because I've been there.”

Now, Cudjoe gets the chance to fulfill a dream of coaching at the school where the court is named for his father, Lawrence Cudjoe.

Douglass has won the last four state championships in Class 4A, but it also lost the school's most prolific scorer, point guard Stephen Clark, who started on all four title teams.

So Kendal Cudjoe will take a page from his father's playbook as he takes over his new team.

“I've always believed — and I got this philosophy from my father — that balanced scoring can be just as effective, if not more, than one person doing most of the scoring,” he said. “My father had great players at Douglass, but their teammates were so talented that they could score also, when they were called upon.

“These guys in the program now know how to win. When you lose a guy who averages 30 or 40 points a game, you know you have underclassmen waiting to get their shot to step in.”

by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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