MO State HS Sports

John Tonje to Represent Cameroon During Olympic Qualifying

John Tonje, Cameroon

John Tonje will trade in the Black & Gold of Mizzou this month for the Green, Red & Yellow of Cameroon as the graduate guard is set to compete for the country’s national team during Olympic Qualifying games, starting next week.

In his first year at Mizzou, Tonje joined the Tigers after spending the previous four seasons at Colorado State. He helped the Rams to 80 victories during his time on campus, collecting 1,051 points, 359 rebounds and 102 assists during his career – shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from 3-point range.

Tonje now looks to replicate his winning success on the national stage and help Cameroon qualify for the Olympics for the first time in its history, starting next Tuesday.

“John is a young player with a lot of talent,” said Cameroon head coach Alfred Boya. “He is a good one-on-one player and he’s really strong, athletic, can defend and can shoot. Those are the qualities that are always important. Whenever you have breakdowns, you have to have players on the court that can create for themselves and create for the team. John definitely has those qualities.”

A 6-foot-5 guard, Tonje ranked second for the Rams in 2022-23 with a career-best 14.6 points per game. He also set personal bests with a field goal percentage of 47.3 and a 3-point clip of 38.9 during this past season, adding 4.7 rebounds, 43 assists and 25 steals. During his standout career, Tonje started 46 games for a Colorado State team that won 80 games and 45 conference contests, advancing to the 2022 NCAA Tournament as a six seed.

“He has to adjust to the speed of the game as it’s a different speed here,” Boya said. “You can see he’s processing it all because he’s asking a lot of questions. John is coachable and he’s inquisitive. He wants to know how he can be effective and how he can help. I think there are a lot of ways for him to help the team on both ends of the floor. From what I’ve seen, he’ll be a big piece of us fighting for that qualification.”

Cameroon is one of eight African nations competing in the FIBA Pre-Qualifying Olympic Tournament in Lagos, Nigeria. Cameroon begins the tournament on August 15 against Guinea, while also facing Tunisia (August 16) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (August 18) in group play. The top two nations from each group advance to the semifinals on August 19 before determining the bid in the final the following day. The advancing nation will then compete in a final qualifying tournament for the 2024 Olympics at a date to be determined.

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics