Meet Sam Alamutu '21

By Adam McDougall, St. Thomas University Journalism

The best thing from being from the Greater Toronto Area is the culture
. I think it’s really neat. All the different types of people you meet there – you just get so much knowledge about how to interact with different people and how to see and treat other people. There’s definitely a lot of diversity. I can vibe with people and connect with them on different levels, which I think is really cool. The culture there, I just love it. That’s what I love about my city.
The Toronto Raptors winning the NBA Title this year was definitely exciting because I didn’t expect them to win, so it was interesting to see how that brought a lot of joy to the city. It brought a lot of positive impact for the Canadian basketball scene in general. I was at school in New Brunswick when they won, but when I came home shortly after, I went to the parade, and that was pretty crazy.

Obviously, New Brunswick is different than back home. Much more quiet. I find it easier to focus on what’s important – that’s one of the reasons why I came here. At home there are always a lot of distractions. Here, just being able to go to school and play basketball without distraction makes working towards success easier. I guess that’s kind of a way of saying that there’s not as much to do around here, but I like it. The people you meet are so friendly – it’s like a little community where everyone can help take care of you – that’s a big reason why I’m here. At home there’s probably more to do, but I still have a lot of fun in New Brunswick. When I’m not playing basketball, I hang out with friends, and I also like to dance – I’m not too bad at it either.

Being away from home can get tough sometimes, so to keep me motivated I like to be faithful – I’m pretty religious. I go to church as much as I can, so having God in my life keeps me grounded; keeps me humble, focused, so I know I’m never getting complacent. Most of all, though, I just remember why I’m here. Even when I’m tired or emotional or anything like that, I just remember why I’m here. Talking to my parents also keeps me going. It reminds me that I have to at least try to give back what they’ve done for me. That’s what keeps me going.

My biggest supporters throughout my basketball career have – first and foremost – been my family. My mom and my dad never told me my dreams were too big; they always encouraged me to follow what I wanted to do as long as I put God and school first. I’ve also got a lot of support from people from my church and family friends. And then there are my coaches. Especially Coach Damian Gay. He has been with me for a little over a year and a half now, and has been so much of a support for me. He has made me a better person and a better player. My coach from back home, Coach Richard Scott, has been coaching me since I was in Grade 6, and he’s been really great to me, too. He’s always taken care of me no matter what, always giving me his time. I really appreciate him for that.

I’m proud of the fact that, as a basketball player, I’m able to do more than one thing. I feel like a good basketball player should be able to do multiple things well; that they should be able to make the right play with their playmaking ability, as well as score. I think I rebound pretty well for a guard so I’m trying to keep that up as a part of my game, and I take pride in my defense as well. Being a leader is also super important to me. A lot of guys only focus on scoring and being able to put the ball in the basket, but that’s only a certain part of the game. I believe that if someone takes something away from you, you have to be able to still make an impact for your team – if my shot’s not going down, I can still play defense, I can still lead, and most importantly I can still make a difference for my team.

The main goal I have this season is to improve. I want to be able to call myself a 5-star recruit by the end of the season – I want to be able to get to that kind of level. That’s my personal goal, but in terms of the team, I want to take us to another level. Obviously, basketball is a team game so I want to be able to win a championship and really compete as an organization and as a program. I recently got my first Division-1 offer, so that’s probably what I’m most proud of as a player. That’s what I play the game for, that’s what I’ve been working towards since I started playing the game, but my main goal is to compete and win at the highest level possible.

I’m planning on going Division-1 collegiately, but ultimately, my goal is to go to the NBA. I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work, so first and foremost I’m just trying to get that post-secondary degree and take it from there. As far as post-secondary education goes, I’m aiming to study computer engineering in university. It’s a subject that I’m really interested in – plus the pay would be good for professionals. In the end, though, I’m hoping to get more D-1 offers by the time I graduate high school so I can have options and make the best decision for me.

The thing I love most about basketball is that you never know what’s going to happen. Even if you’re down by 40 points at halftime, there’s always that chance that you can come back. It always keeps the players on their toes. You really have to be able to play the whole game from beginning to end if you want to be successful, and you have to play the same way because anything can happen at any time – you really can’t take any breaks.