(Photo: Brooke Faber/WCSN)
Senior guard Promise Amukamara isn’t your typical leader.
Ever since joining Arizona State as a freshman back in 2011, Amukamara has been one of the more quiet players on the team.
“She’s always been the quiet one,” said Coach Charli Turner Thorne. “She’s a woman of few words.”
Through her freshman and sophomore seasons, Amukamara could get away with being “the quiet one,” but as her junior year came along and her role as a key defensive player and leader began to take shape, Turner Thorne knew that Amukamara would need to be more vocal.
“Going into it we talked about her role,” Turner Thorne said. “She always wanted to just lead by example, but I told her, ‘Promise, leading by example is just doing what you’re supposed to do, it’s not leading. You need to influence people, and you need to lead this team.’ And she said ‘OK.’”
From then on, Amukamara has stepped up as one of the main on-court leaders and the only senior leader for this Arizona State team, setting the tone both vocally and by example.
“Her presence and her sense of urgency have been huge this season,” said Turner Thorne. “I can think of so many close games where we’ve been down and she just wasn’t going to let us lose. When she plays like that, nobody else on the team dares to let up.”
This season, Amukamara has been an incredible all-around player for Arizona State. She has started every game as a senior and currently leads the team in steals (1.8 spg), is 2nd in FT pct. (77.8), 3rd in scoring (10.8 ppg) and free throws made (49), and 4th in assists (2.0 apg), FG pct. (46.5) and rebounds (3.8 rpg).
There’s no doubt that Amukamara has answered the call to improve her game on both ends of the court, but her transition to a vocal leader has been the challenge that she is most proud to have overcome.
“I’ve definitely grown as a leader,” said Amukamara. “I’ve always been very shy and not very talkative so to break out of my shell and just be able to lead my teammates vocally has been a great change.”
Amukamara hasn’t just impressed her Coach with her transformation this season, but her teammates as well.
“Prom just holds our team together,” said Katie Hempen, a junior guard for ASU. “She knows when to speak up and she knows when to keep calm, and that’s what great leaders do. It’s an unbelievable amount how much she’s matured over this past year.”
Amukamara’s leadership and performance has helped to put this team—a team that was picked in the preseason to finish sixth in the Pac-12 by the media and seventh by the coaches—to a 25-4 record and a top 10 ranking.
“She’s truly, in my opinion, one of the best players in the country right now,” said Turner Thorne. “Just because of everything she does on both ends of the floor and how she’s developed as an offensive player. Everything about her has just elevated to being just a great guard and a great basketball player.”
The transformation of Amukamara has been incredible this season, and without a doubt has not gone unnoticed by her teammates and the coaching staff. As the lone senior on the team, her stepping up vocally was absolutely necessary for this Sun Devil team to reach their potential.
With senior day fast approaching and Amukamara’s tenure at Arizona State coming to a close, Arizona State’s game against Colorado is sure to be an emotional one for Amukamara and the rest of the Sun Devils.
“She’s been there for us and she’s really been great,” said Hempen. “I wouldn’t rather have any other senior on my team.”