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A World Of Opportunities For Washington’s Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda

Karl’s TV & Appliance Athlete of the Week
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 11:08 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - You never know when or how opportunities will present themselves. For Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda, a world of possiblities on the basketball court began to open up prior to her sophomore year at Washington high school.

“My style of play is sort of guard-orientated because when I was younger I was, like, average height. I wasn’t really tall. Sophomore year, I think it was maybe something I was eating, I don’t know! Maybe that or puberty but I started growing.” Washington Junior Forward Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda says.

It was around that time she learned something else-her mom Mamissa was pretty good at her age too.

“It was just the excitement, my passion for the game and then wanting to play at the high level.” Mamissa Mwenentanda says.

Representing the Congo in the 1996 Olympics before coming to the United States to play for Old Dominion at the age of 18.

“I knew a little bit of it but when I learned the rest of it I was like, dang! I want to do one of those and then plus more!” Ndjakalenga says.

The experience at ODU, which included a Final Four in 1997, helps Mamissa give her daughter an idea of what it takes to play in college.

“Mental toughness. The game is very fast. She has to be able to compete with herself, against herself. You have to critique yourself after the game to know that what are the things that I can improve on?” Mamissa says.

Now a junior, Ndjakalenga has put everything together to become one of the top recruits in the country.

“Her athleticism makes her absolutely unique. Somebody with that length, that can dribble the ball up the floor and play your point guard. She can finish around the rim like a big wing or maybe even a power forward type.” Washington Head Coach Jamie Parish says.

And she doesn’t have to look far....

“My mom’s father told her ‘this is your life, you have to make an impact for yourself’. I’m just grateful for the life that I live compared to what she had.” Ndjakalenga says.

“She wants to match up with the competition and be able to compete with the best so that keeps her in the gym a lot. The dedication to learning and the passion that she has for the game, that’s what amazes me.” Mamissa says.

...to know how precious that opportunity is.

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