Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, 6-8, 245, F, Soph. (Douala, Cameroon)
Transferred: May 6, 2019
Tchatchoua grew up in Cameroon playing soccer — much like most of his friends — and didn’t start playing basketball until he was 16 years old. He participated in a camp run by NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute in Cameroon, where he was able to earn a spot at the Basketball Without Borders camp in Angola.
From there, he earned a scholarship to the NBA Global Academy and spent the next two-plus years at the Australian Institute of Sport, learning the basics of the game. His recruitment started to pick up and he wound up visiting three schools: Gonzaga, St. John’s and UNLV.
It ultimately came down to Gonzaga and UNLV, and he opted for Las Vegas over Spokane because Mark Few and the ‘Zags coaching staff wanted him to redshirt as a freshman.
“I hadn’t played a lot of basketball and I just felt as though I needed to get on the floor and make mistakes and learn from them,” Tchatchoua said.
Tchatchoua played sparingly as a freshman at UNLV, averaging 13.3 minutes, 3.4 points and 3.5 boards per game. Head coach Marvin Menzies was fired after Tchatchoua’s first season in college, and he decided to transfer.
Baylor came calling. So did Nebraska and Grand Canyon.
“I didn’t really know too much about Baylor, and they didn’t know much about me, either,” Tchatchoua said. “But I loved Coach Drew, and I did some research and found out that they really make their players better.”
Scott Drew and his staff then stumbled on a YouTube video from when Tchatchoua was younger. He was thinner, more athletic and consistently dunking on the offensive end and blocking everything on the defensive side. Drew couldn’t help but be enamored by the potential.
“He played so hard,” Drew said. “A lot like he does now. He was a lot heavier though at UNLV. He’s probably 15-20 pounds lighter now.”
Tchatchoua chose to continue his career in Waco, and instead of trying to get a waiver to play immediately, he sat out the 2019-20 campaign and it was the best move of his career.
“Every Day Jon,” as he has been called by just about everyone in the Baylor program due to his consistent work ethic and approach, is averaging 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this season while coming off the bench.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” he told me. “I worked on my body, and just got better every day. I haven’t just gotten better on the court. I’ve also developed with my faith as a Christian.”