January 18, 2014

Amber talks about leadership

Hello Everyone,

For my blog I'd like to talk about the leadership of the seniors of our team, Chiney, Sara James, and Mikaela Ruef. Chosen as this year's captains, they not only have the most experience but also display the essential qualities of leadership that guide the rest of us in the right direction, just as the seniors before them did and the seniors before that.

All three of our seniors lead us both on and off the court and help us push through the problems we encounter as a team.

Sej is one of the hardest working people on the team. She's always one of the first people on the floor before practice and before games. She competes hard and is a physical player who is willing to put her body on the line and leave her best effort on the court. Whether it is diving for a loose ball, crashing the glass for rebounds, sprinting her lane, or being vocal in practice, Sej's intensity is always at 110%. Whenever we prepare to play another team, I'm sure that I'm not the only one who feels sorry for the opposing player who has to guard and be guarded by Sej. If there's anything I should hope to take from Sara, it is to be as tough as her.

Mikaela is definitely one of smartest players on the team (if you need someone to read over a paper for a class for you, Mik is undoubtedly the person to ask). A core member of our team today, I've witnessed Mik's growth from serving more of a role to becoming an indispensable component of our gameplan both offensively and defensively. We count on Mik everyday to hit open shots, play great defense, rebound, and be aggressive. Additionally, Mik is a great passer, from which the rest of us benefit. Mik is a problem solver- if something isn't working, it is absolute that she will devise and share ways that we can find solutions.

Finally, there aren't enough words to describe what Chiney does for and means to this team. The all-time PAC-12 leader in rebounding, Chiney plays with a ferocity and passion matched by none. You can see it in her eyes. From increasing her scoring after Nneka graduated to improving her outside shooting, Chiney has always stepped up in all the right ways, helping lead her team to success. I feel privileged to play with a player of her caliber and call her a teammate, friend, and sister.

I'd also like to take the time to acknowledge another one of our seniors,Toni Kokenis. Although she's no longer playing with us this year, Toni was one of my favorite teammates to play with. She could shoot, drive, was our team's best perimeter defender, and was incredibly fast both with and without the ball. Helpful both during practices and on the sideline during games, we all appreciate what Toni has done for Stanford basketball.

As I reflect on my freshman experience, a time where I was often overwhelmed and sometimes lost in the transition to college basketball and to college life, I can't help but think about the seniors that assisted me in adjusting to such a large change. Lindy La Rocque, Nneka Ogwumike, Sarah Boothe, and Grace Mashore all impacted me in ways that I could never forget, and although our time was short together, I still fondly think about the great memories we shared together and appreciate everything they did for me.

Time has flown, as it seems that I was just a freshman not long ago. As I look forward to my senior season with the rest of my class, I hope to carry out and build on the legacy of being a leader here at Stanford.



  1. This is a wonderful post, Amber. It's analysis of the contributions of the seniors seems spot on. I appreciate the inclusion of Toni.
    This article captures the sisterhood of the team--all for one and one for all.
    This is really a nice contribution.

  2. Great post, Amber! Watching you develop as a leader yourself is a great pleasure. I love that you honor and appreciate the leadership of our seniors. I too am happy that you included Toni. I miss her so on the court, but am glad she's still here, leading the way.