Becoming the sixth Canadian to move on to an NCAA Division I scholarship in the last month, Harouna Mutombo has declared that he will skip his final year of high school eligibility in Ontario after committing to Western Carolina University.
The 6’4” 190-pound Mutombo is an explosive wing, capable of exploding off the dribble to finish above the rim with power or use his great length and bounce to completely neutralize opponents on defence. He has deep three-point range on his jumper and can fill several roles and stat lines with rebounds, steals, assists, blocks, and points.
“What made Western Carolina stand out was definitely the [Southern Conference] – a great Mid-Major conference,” said Mutombo.
“Another aspect was how much of an impact would I have. That was the main question I asked about each school recruiting me. Western Carolina just seemed like a great fit. They had been recruiting me since the [All Canada Prospect Camp in July] and they followed me to Vegas with [head coach Larry Hunter]. I thought that showed how much they were interested in me.
“Another thing was getting my degree. According to Fortune Magazine, Western Carolina is ranked #1 in Business Entrepreneurship, which is the field that I will be going in.”
Coming off a Gold Medal performance at the OFSAA AAAA provincial championships last year, the Pickering, Ontario native graduated and qualified through the NCAA Clearinghouse before the start of the current school year. He plans on enrolling in the second semester at the Cullowee, North Carolina-based school and redshirt the 2007-08 season.
“I will get a feel for the program, practice with the team, know what I have to work on in the summer, know the plays, really get my feet wet, and when September ‘08 comes around, I will have a good chance to play for the team,” added Mutombo.
Harouna received considerable attention from other NCAA D1 programs – Stony Brook, Davidson, Long Island, Denver, Virginia Tech, and Central Connecticut State – but nothing compared to the Western Carolina Catamounts.
“Coach Hunter is changing this program around. Western Carolina is in a nice city and the community really loves the basketball program, so I can’t wait to be a part of it.”