AWC forward signs with Robert Morris
In the past couple of years, Jolie Olingende has gone from Kinasha, Congo, to Yuma.
Next stop: Moon Township, Pa.
The Arizona Western forward signed with Robert Morris University, a NCAA Division I school in the Northeast Conference, to play in the fall.
Olingende is the third Matador in eight years to head to the Colonials, following Sugeiry Monsac in 2004 and Yohanna Morton in 2009.
“I liked the place it’s located,” Olingende said. “They have many, many international kids. Their offer caught my eye because they offered me something good. Better than what the other schools offered.”
That large international body was a big draw, Olingende said.
“When I’m in a class with an international student, they can understand me easily. We have the same way of thinking as opposed to the American way of thinking. They can understand me easily.”
AWC coach Patrick Cunningham said it was a successful two years for the 6-1 Olingende, who was the ACCAC Player of the Year this season and the ACCAC Freshman of the Year in her first campaign.
“I don’t want to say as expected, but pleasantly surprised is better because you just never know with the international kids,” Cunningham said. “There’s a lot of dice that get rolled on there. But once she got here, you figured out she’s not only going to be good for you athletically, but once you see what her commitment was to her academics and the classroom and learning her English, then you feel really comfortable.”
Olingende, saying she was grateful to both the school and Cunningham, said that the RMU staff sees as her more as under-the-basket player than a pure scorer. But Cunningham said he thinks she can be as dominant in Pennsylvania as she was in Arizona.
“In a league like the NEC where she’s going, she’ll really put up some numbers and be a presence,” Cunningham said. “That’s something they’ll have as an advantage over the other schools they play.”