By CHRISSY SMITH
SLIDELL — Samara Dingiswayo was waiting on the call she always hoped would come.
Dingiswayo, a senior at Salmen High School, played a pivotal role in the Lady Spartans making it to the Class 4A state title game this year in basketball. She was hoping to play at the next level in college, but hadn’t decided where to go yet.
Melanie Stone, the head women’s basketball coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College said she had seen Dingiswayo play her senior year.
“We were really interested in her, but figured a big school would offer and get her. But when we heard she hadn’t committed anywhere yet, we went right after her,”?Stone said.
Diniswayo said once Stone called, other coaches from Southwest Mississippi, Delgado and Southeastern started calling as well.
“When I went on my visit to MGCCC, I loved the campus and felt like I fit in with the team. Plus, it’s not too far from home,”?Dingiswayo said.
MGCCC is about 90 minutes from Slidell.
While on her visit, Dingiswayo said she played pick-up with the girls on the team and said that was when she really knew she wanted that to be her next team.
“She’s obviously very athletic and she can shoot from anywhere. We were looking to get a shooting guard this year, and she knows the game very well,”?Stone said.
MGCCC has study hall that is mandatory for all players, and Dingiswayo said she was glad to know academics were a big part of the program. She plans on majoring in pharmacy.
Dingiswayo is especially grateful for the chance to play in college after thinking her basketball career might be over her sophomore season. The 18-year-old tore her ACL when she was in tenth grade, but was faithful in rehab and was able to come back and play as a junior.
Once she graduates from the community college, Dingiswayo has her sights set on a four-year university where she hopes to continue playing college hoops. After that, her goal is to play overseas or as a pro in the WNBA.
“This will be a great fit for her. She can score and rebound and she has the ability to go on after her two years at MGCCC,”?Salmen Head Coach Kevin Anderson said. “She was a team player and kept us balanced.”