Tarleton State Men’s Basketball signs Chris Mpaka for 2024-25 season


STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton State head coach Billy Gillispie announced on Monday, another addition to the Texans’ 2024-25 roster, 6-9 forward, Chris Mpaka.

“What a treasure we are getting in Chris Mpaka,” said coach Gillispie. “He is a great player, person, and student. His spirit is unmatched as he loves life every single moment. As a coach with experience, you come to realize that you want to recruit players that you really want to coach and be around on a daily basis. Chris has the spirit and enthusiasm of a guy like all-time great Freddy Hicks and he can really play basketball. He takes our incoming class to a different level. Welcome Mr. Chris, cant wait to have you here.”

Mpaka will compete in his first Division I collegiate season with the Texans this year. He spent his first two years at a pair of community colleges. He started his collegiate career at Frank Phillips Community College. As a true freshman, he started 26 of 28 games, leading the team averaging 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds. He also posted a team-best 56.7 shooting percentage from the floor. He scored in double figures in 15 games, while scoring at least 20 in six of those games. The forward posted a trio of double-doubles. He notched a season-high 29 points against Otero CC on Nov.11. For his efforts all season, Chris was named All-WJCAC (Western Junior College Athletic Conference) Honorable Mention.

Last season, he started 28 of 30 games at Indian Hills Community College. He averaged 21.9 minutes, 6.6 points and 9.4 rebounds. During his second season of college basketball, he posted eight double-digit scoring efforts and 13 double-figure rebound totals. He registered seven double-doubles including a season-high 16 point effort combined with 17 rebounds in the penultimate game of the season against Odessa. His career-high 22 rebounds came on Feb. 13 against Moberly Area where he also recorded a double-double.

“I am excited to help Tarleton win a WAC Championship and take a trip to March Madness,” said Mpaka about this upcoming season. “First, I want to thank God for this opportunity. I chose Tarleton because I love the program and I know that Coach Gillispie will push me to be the best that I can be. I have a warrior mentality heading into this season and can’t wait to get started with my coaches and teammates.”

Mpaka is from Kinshasa, Congo where he attended Diyavanaga High School. Once moving to the United States, his coach at Frank Phillips community college, Jason Sautter, became his family away from home. “Out of the 142 D1 players that I have coached over the last 15 years, there is no one that played harder than him,” said coach and mentor Sautter. “Every player has his or her story, but the life that Chris left in the Congo speaks volumes on his mental fortitude. Tarleton State and its fans are getting someone, due to his upbringing, who is not afraid of anyone or anything as he has seen a lot in his life. He will compete against anyone regardless of position and size who will do his best to help Tarleton compete for championships.”

Last year, Mpaka’s father passed away and Sautter has been his role model and mentor during his time away from home. Chris’ favorite hobbies are playing video games and basketball. His favorite NBA team is the Los Angeles Lakers, and his favorite player is Joel Embiid.

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