Cole graduates JC, signs with NCAA D2 Hawaii Pacific

April 29, 2015

Aminata Cole basketball

Aminata Cole

Anchorage’s Aminata Cole has never been to Hawaii, but it already feels like home.

The 5-foot-10 basketball player has been recruited by Hawaii Pacific coaches during her two years at Southwestern Oregon Community College, where she developed into one of the best post players in the Northwest Athletic Conference.

So when it came time for Cole to pick a new school after graduating from junior college, her decision was easy. She signed with Hawaii Pacific University to honor her verbal commitment in November.

“They just had stayed really consistent with me over the summer of my freshman year up until now,” Cole told me. “I could tell the coach was very genuine and honest.”

Hawaii Pacific is a NCAA D2 team in the Pac West Conference and is in the same West Region as UAA and UAF.

“I think it would be cool if HPU played UAA,” Cole said. “Both teams were really good this year and I think they’re both only going to get better, so it should be some good competition if we do get the opportunity to play against one another.”

At Southwestern Oregon, Cole was a double-double machine with points [18.7], rebounds [10.7] and led the league in blocked shots [3.3].

Her game highs were like a video game: 33 points, 20 rebounds and 8 blocks.

“I love blocking shots,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite things to do when playing the game. Definitely a confidence booster and it’s kinda like I’m sending a little message to my opponents.”

She hopes to enjoy the same success at the next level.

“I think I will succeed because I’m a girl who likes a challenge,” Cole said. “I won’t let anything get in my way and although things probably will be tough for me at first it’s nothing I can’t work hard to overcome and play my best.”

At Hawaii Pacific, Cole will join best buddy Taylor Blake of Palmer.

“She had nothing but good things to say about the coach and I really value her opinion,” Cole said. “I think it will be a good place to spend my last two years of college. I’m getting my education and playing ball; plus playing alongside one of my very best friends.

“Sounds like a win-win to me.”