Profile: Kalonda, Lumanu and Mokango
For most people, the prospect of moving halfway around the world knowing it could be years before you see your family again would be a terrifying proposition, but for juniors Armelie Lumanu, Chanel Mokango and Rima Kalonda, it was the chance of a lifetime.
Growing up in the Congo, the trio had developed a love for basketball, excelling on their respective teams and catching the eye of someone with connections to a junior college in Illinois. When given the opportunity to use their talent for the game while pursuing an education in America, they—no pun intended—jumped for it.
After two years at Southeastern Illinois College, they were recruited to Mississippi State by MSU women's head basketball coach Sharon Fanning. Here, they were an integral part of the Lady Bulldogs' first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years.
While all three hope to one day star in the WNBA, it is a degree from Mississippi State, and not a future basketball career, that is their top priority.
"I love basketball, but an education is the most important thing to me," said Lumanu. "And to have a degree from an American university is very prestigious where we are from. It is very well respected. With a degree from Mississippi State, there will be many more doors open to us in the Congo."
Next week … Joe Fanguy !