Trailblazers sign OSBA Defensive Player of the Year Alphonse Muteba


VINCENNES, Ind. – The Vincennes University Trailblazers picked up another signing Monday afternoon from north of the border, in six-foot-seven Alphonse Muteba.

“Alphonse is an athletic guy,” VU Hall of Fame Head Coach Todd Franklin said. “He can defend. That’s his calling card. He’s long and athletic and can guard multiple positions. He can guard a wing or he can guard a post and everything in between. That’s the reputation he has, we’ll see if he can do it at our level.”

“There’s always a transition to playing at our level without question,” Franklin added. “But he’s got good size at six-seven. He’ somewhere between 205 and 210 right now. We’ll bring him in here and really pound the strength training but he’s starting out with a decent base. He’s very bouncy and can run. He can block a shot, can cover a guy on the perimeter and can be a guy that can switch out on people. Those are the first things that bring you to him. He’s supposed to be a good guy and a good student, supposed to be a really hard worker. We’ll see when he gets here. If he’s those things he’ll be fine because he’s got the athletic ability and I think he probably fits in here as a four.”

“The four spot is probably one that he has to get down and learn some things about,” Franklin said. “Like learning how to post and put the jump hook on people. Simple things that if he will embrace and grasp, where you can get some mismatches. But there are things that he already can do. He can really run and can really bounce, if you drop it off to him, he can bounce and get straight up off the floor. So there are some things that you can use right away if he just comes in and works hard.”

Muteba comes to Vincennes after playing last season at Fort Erie International Academy, in Fort Erie, Ontario.

Muteba helped guide his team to a 17-1 record last season under Head Coach Steve Houston in the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) Pool B and would go on to be named Defensive Player of the Year.

Muteba joins fellow VU signee Mathieu Nader-Kalombo (Montreal, Quebec) as the Trailblazers’ latest Canadian signees, which look to continue VU’s line of successful players from Canada in the Coach Franklin era, which includes former Golden State Warrior and current NBA G-Leaguer Mychal Mulder, 2019 NJCAA National Tournament MVP Kevin Osawe, 2023 NJCAA All-American Caleb Johnson and more.

The six-foot-seven Muteba looks to add some length to the 2023-24 Trailblazers squad which has seven returners off of last season’s 30-6 VU team which reached the NJCAA Division I National Quarterfinals.

“He’s coming in here to compete for time just like the rest of these guys,” Franklin said. “We’ve got seven returners and that’s the core, but it’s open competition and the best guys play. We hope that those seven guys are ready to go. They’ve been out here working and how does that fit in with the new guys coming in. Can you beat those guys out and we’ll see where it goes and what he does.”

“But we’ll probably work him as a four to begin with,” Franklin added. “Our four spot is a totally versatile position. We can play a four like Michael Osei-Bonsu or we can play a four like Kris King like we did last year. They are both interchangeable in what we do. We are able to fit that wide of a variety of skill sets into that position and I think that’s where Alphonse falls. We’ll see when he gets in here what skill sets he actually has and what skill sets he is going to have by November or January. He’ll have to get in here and learn quick, but he has the athletic ability to do so. He adds some size and length out there and we’ll see if he’s good enough to come in and adapt and be ready to play early.”

“We are looking at what’s out there first of all,” Franklin said of what’s next in recruiting. “What’s available, who are the guys that fit us, are they a good enough player, regardless of position, are they a good enough person, do they want to work hard enough. We want to fill our remaining spots with guys that fit those criteria. It’s not like going to the supermarket. We can’t always take what we want when you are being picky about what we are looking for.”

“We’ll see what is still out there,” Franklin added. “Ideally probably sign at least one guy that plays inside some. Maybe another ball handling guard, then maybe best available. But if they are a really good player, they are a really good guy and they will work really hard, we won’t worry about the position that much. But I would like to get another inside guy just to get the bodies that we will need. I think we can probably get through with what we have right now if we don’t get people hurt, but you never know how that goes.”

“But the biggest thing will be do they fit our criteria,” Franklin said. “Are they good enough to play at this level, do we think they will get to be good enough to play at this level, regardless of position and the way that we play and are they a good enough guy to fit what we do and how we do it. Then are they a guy that wants it bad enough to work hard enough to stay on the trend with the things that we are doing right now. Hopefully we can find three more guys like that during the summer because we don’t want to waste any of these spots and we want all of these spots to be productive with good guys.”

The Vincennes University Athletic Department is excited to welcome Alphonse Muteba to the 2023 recruiting class.