“From our first few practices together, I knew that she was a very hard worker.”
That is how Aerial Wilson, the starting two guard for the University of Memphis women’s basketball team describes junior forward Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu (Men-gee-ah-do), who serves as the dominant force in the paint for the Tigers, adding that Mendjiadeu is “relentless and determined.”
Wilson, a four-star point guard from Canada, and Mendjiadeu, a 6-4 forward from Cameroon, bonded in their non-American roots.
“We met at the International Student Orientation, and we always were around one another, and as time has gone along, both of us have grown close to one another,” Wilson said. “During workouts over the summer, she always would stay late, rather it be to get in extra conditioning or to get up extra shots.”
That work ethic can be attributed to long days spent in Mendjiadeu’s home nation. She can recall her initial hesitations when it came to basketball in general, especially as she continued to progress through the high school basketball ranks.
“At first, I did not want to be an athlete because kids used to tease me about my height,” Mendjiadeu recalled. “However, my coach came to my house and talked to my parents. He told them that I could be really good at basketball, but that I would have to put the work in.”
After dominating in high school, Mendjiadeu became the number-three-ranked player out of Cameroon, attending the University of Yakunde in Cameroon as a freshman. She averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds as a freshman and then transferred to Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tennessee.
Mendjiadeu truly blossomed into a highly skilled player at Walters, where fans watched her dominate on a nightly basis.
She earned second-team Junior College All-American honors while at Walters, establishing herself as a highly sought prospect. She was ranked as the number 10 junior college prospect in the nation.
When it came to choosing where she would attend school her junior and senior seasons, Mendjiadeu said the University of Memphis always intrigued her.
“I knew a former player who played for the University of Memphis, and she told me all about the program and that I would really like it,” Mendjiadeu recalled fondly. “I took an official visit there, and I fell in love with the campus almost immediately.”
Mendjiadeu said there is a very big difference between the level of coaching in Cameroon than from the coaching she’s receiving as a member of the Tigers program.
“In Cameroon, I may have one or two coaches, but at Memphis, we have a coach for pretty much everything,” she said. “I like that because they all push me to be the best that I can be.”
Mendjiadeu averages 11 points and 8 rebounds for the UofM Tigers, who have been winning despite a plethora of injuries, whether it be star guard Jamirah Shutes, who will miss the remainder of the season, or freshman forward Lanetta Williams, who has been out for a large portion of the season.
Off the court, Mendjiadeu also has adjusted to life in the United States. While she doesn’t much care for American food, she appreciates how Memphis as a whole has welcomed her with open arms.
“I really like it here because the people are so nice and they really want to get to know me as a person, not just as the Dulcy the basketball player,” she said. “I feel like I can be myself on and off the court here, and I’m very happy.”