Carmen (to) Ohio: Villalobos becomes Vikings’ first 2022 portal addition

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Former University of Hartford wing Carmen Villalobos has become Cleveland State’s first transfer portal addition of the 2022 offseason, according to WBB Blog.

Villalobos was a workhorse for the Hawks, topping 30 minutes per game in both of her collegiate seasons, including 2019-20 – when she was selected to the America East All-Rookie Team – and 2021-22 (she spent the 2020-21 season in her native Spain). She brings good size to the table at 6-1 and tracks as elite in most defensive statistics, rating in the top eight percent of players nationally in both rebounding (6.7 per game) and steals (1.8).

Beyond all of that, she’s been a capable secondary scorer who shoots roughly 35 percent from three and is generally good for one make from behind the arc per game. A career high of 21 points came against UMass Lowell early in her career, but Villalobos finished this past season by scoring 12 or more in seven of her last ten contests.

While she reads as something of an Isabelle Gradwell type in several ways, for the sake of linking her to one of CSU’s departing players and the sometimes-significant roster gaps they left, she’s also extremely comfortable playing as a traditional post when needed. See: this pass.

The computer engineering major has received several looks from her national federation as well. An obvious highlight of Villalobos’ FIBA experience has been the 2019 3×3 U18 Europe Cup, where she was a part of Spain’s successful qualification effort en route to an eventual championship. Villalobos has also been selected for preliminary national team rosters at the U17, U18, U19, and U20 levels.

UHart’s team success can charitably be described as “limited” with Villalobos on the roster, as the Hawks went a combined 5-54 over the 2019-20 and 2021-22 seasons. However, there is plenty in the way of extenuating circumstances behind that ugly record. The school of Vin Baker and Jeff Bagwell is in a period of considerable turmoil thanks to its decision, made last summer, to drop to Division III by the 2025-26 season – and a subsequent lawsuit filed by students and alumni attempting to halt the move. Including Villalobos, no fewer than ten UHart women’s players decided to hit the eject button at the conclusion of this past season and try their luck in the transfer portal. Villalobos is now one of five, so far, that have found a new home for this fall.

With the addition of Villalobos, the Vikings project to have three spots remaining. Chris Kielsmeier and company will likely look to fill them with further portal finds, possibly matching the four transfers that joined the team for the 2021-22 Horizon League championship game run.

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