Zimbabwe’s Mushandu waiting for a phone call that could change his career
As Tondi Mushandu continues his stardom at Castleton University in the USA's state of Vermont, the 21-year-old guard is looking to take his talents to this year's FIBA AfroBasket with Zimbabwe.
The Italian-born says he will be ready to represent the country of his parents if he gets a call from Zimbabwe new head coach Emmanuel Mukandi.
"My desire is to see the country's basketball hit the big platform. I know the potential is there." - Mushandu
Starting next month, FIBA AfroBasket 2017 qualifiers will take place across the continent to secure berths in the 16-team Final Round event to be played in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in August.
If Mushandu is to make his international debut on Africa's biggest basketball stage, Zimbabwe will need to succeed in the continent's Zone 6 qualifiers against local rivals Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa and Angola.
"I am very much available, but so far no one has reached out to me yet," he told local newspaper The Sunday Mail. "The only issue for me is the time as I need to get releases from school and plan out my class schedules. Otherwise, I am very much available."
Mushandu, a 1.92m guard, is currently Castleton University Spartans' second-leading scorer, averaging 12.3 points.
Last week, he won the North Atlantic Player of the Week award, the first of his collegiate career.
Given his stellar career with the Division 3 school, Mushandu feels his game could be helpful for Zimbabwe.
Two years ago in Tunisia, Zimbabwe made their first FIBA AfroBasket appearance in more than three decades and came in last place.
"I have never made a secret of my desire to play for Zimbabwe," he said. "I might have been born in Italy, and based in the United States, but my heart belongs to Zimbabwe. My parents are from Zimbabwe and my desire is to see the country’s basketball hit the big platform. I know the potential is there."
Mukandi, who replaced Ellery Pinkerton at the helm of Zimbabwe, will have the final say.