Carlotta Mingo made the huge leap from Guyana to New York as a teenager and a small step two years ago to attend Harcum College. She will make another huge leap this fall when she comes to the University of Hawaii to play basketball.
Mingo, a 6-foot power forward, is the fourth recruit the Rainbow Wahine have signed for Dana Takahara-Dias’ second season as head coach. She is, by far, the most intriguing.
Mingo moved from Guyana to Brooklyn with her father when she was 14. She started playing basketball soon after at South Shore High School, then moved on to Harcum, a junior college with 850 students in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to study nursing.
Last season, she ranked 10th in NJCAA Division II in rebounding (10.69) and her team was 29-2 and 10th in the final poll. She had game highs of 18 rebounds and 16 points.
"We like her strength and her power," Takahara-Dias said by phone from Phoenix, where she is recruiting this week. "She started basketball late, and she’s got a lot of basketball left in her. Her potential is really, really a big plus for her, but you can’t teach power and strength in the post.
"After watching her on film and seeing how strong she is, she’s a perfect fit for us in the WAC. She’s not tall, but she’s strong, and I think she will be a great presence for us. … She’s a greater rebounder than she is a scorer, and that’s exactly what we need — someone to get the rebounds, make the outlet passes and start our transition."
Mingo, who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Guyana, moved just 100 miles from home when she went to Harcum. Brooklyn and Manoa are 5,000 miles apart, but she was hooked on Hawaii during her official visit and bonded with point guard Keianna Evans, a JC transfer from North Carolina.
The Rainbows’ other recruits are freshmen from California — guard Sydney Haydel and forward Kamilah Jackson.
Rainbow Wahine coaches are on the road this month, watching tournaments and players in Australia, Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, California, Oregon, Washington, Kentucky, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia and Maryland.
Hawaii opens practice Oct. 15. Games start in November. The full schedule has not been finalized.