This stands as a capstone second of varieties for Laeticia Amihere.
Playing basketball for her native nation of Canada took her global, to Mexico, when she changed into precise 13. The South Carolina ladies’s basketball sophomore changed into half of national teams from 2015 on.
In many programs, those experiences, playing in opposition to just among the area’s most effective, formed and molded the towering presence who changed into the Gamecocks’ No. 3 rebounder and No. 6 scorer final season.
Soon ample, she’ll opt the remaining step, manufacture the title so many detect: Olympian.
“It’s extra or less involving in Canada,” Amihere acknowledged. “They target you at a young age. It in actuality helps you manufacture your sport and extra or less gaze the global play as properly.”
The 6-foot-4 Gamecocks forward, who changed into ready to dunk at age 15, will be half of the Canadian national personnel for the summer season Olympics in dumb July in Tokyo. It’s an adventure and an honor, one thing that locations her in a rarefied air in South Carolina’s already decorated program.
When she plays, Amihere will be half of the likes of Shannon Johnson, Ilona Burgrova and Iva Sliskovic, who went from Columbia to the area stage before her.
“It’s precise been a blessing,” Amihere acknowledged. “Whenever you occur to run to this trend of level, it’s one thing you prepare for on a four-One year cycle. So it’s one thing that I’ve no longer most sensible ready this One year for but since I’ve been in high college.”
Dawn Staley, Amihere’s college coach, received three Olympic gold medals as a participant and is now the coach for the United States. Staley’s Team USA roster contains Gamecock sage A’ja Wilson. The pool play affiliation device the United States and the Canadians received’t face off except potentially the quarterfinals, have to each and every teams attain that time in early August.
Amihere acknowledged this week she most sensible traded congratulatory messages with her coach, with out a talk of seeing each and every various on the court docket. Amihere changed into frankly extra fascinated about seeing yet another half of the U.S. national personnel.
“It can perhaps perhaps be enormous to play in opposition to Team USA, no longer most sensible precise thanks to coach Staley, but those are the most sensible avid gamers on this planet I’d be ready to compete in opposition to,” Amihere acknowledged. “WNBA All-Stars one through 12. It can perhaps perhaps be enormous for my sport.”
There’s some hope she can bring one thing again from Japan. Valid as her time with Team Canada built the megastar participant she changed into to this point, going through just among the area’s most effective can offer the probability to sharpen her skills even additional.
Remaining season changed into the Ontario product’s second with the Gamecocks, after a torn ACL ended her high college occupation early. She played the role of top reserve, alternating as backup to All-American heart Aliyah Boston and playing alongside her at instances.
Subsequent season there’ll be much extra opponents at that forward-heart put, as each and every participant returns and 6-foot-7 Kamilla Cardoso transferred in from Syracuse.
But that opponents is a programs off, and Amihere has one thing foremost creating soon in Japan. And even if it’s yet another likelihood to manufacture her basketball skills with just among the of us who built her as a participant, it’s moreover a determined extra or less adventure, no longer unlike that first run back and forth to Mexico all those years ago.
“I’m inflamed to be within the village,” Amihere acknowledged. “I’ve heard so many broad issues about what the village appears like. I’ve been watching hundreds of films. I’m precise in actuality keying on it, very inflamed.”
Females’s basketball in the Olympics
Olympic opponents begins in ladies’s basketball July 26. Canada is in a pod with Serbia, South Korea and Spain. The US’ team contains Japan, France and Nigeria.
USC Olympians, 2020/21 avid gamers – A’ja Wilson (U.S. 5×5), Allisha Gray (U.S. 3×3), Laeticia Amihere (Canada 5×5)
USC Olympians, 2020/21 coaches – Dawn Staley (U.S. 5×5 head coach)
USC Olympians, all-time avid gamers – Shannon Johnson (U.S. 2004, gold medal), Ilona Burgrova (Czech Republic 2012), Iva Sliskovic (Croatia, 2012)
USC Olympians, coaches – Dawn Staley (U.S. asst coach 2008, 2016, 2 gold medals)