Amani Bartlett Opens up about Syracuse Commitment
Houston Christian High School's (Tx) Amani Bartlett was the fourth player to pledge orange earlier in May, making the class of 2021 a formidable one for the ladies in Orange. Bartlett is a part of an elite group of commits, as she is joined by five-star commit Latasha Lattimore and four-star commits Shayeann Day-Wilson and Nyah Wilson, who also resides in Texas.
Bartlett was ranked in the Top 100 of ESPNW rankings, however, an ACL tear mid-November sidelined her and the official rankings. She is not at all concerned about these rankings as she has gotten over her injury, slowly but surely.
"When it first happened, I was a little timid to play," said Bartlett, "but then, kept playing, I kinda just jumped right back into it. And now, playing AAU, I'm just comfortable with it, it doesn't bother me. It's actually stronger than it was before."
If Bartlett can return to her true form, which it sounds like she already has, look out college basketball. At 6-foot-3 with an athletic frame and an uncanny will to play defense, Bartlett has the mindset of a champion at a very young age.
"Oh, defense?" Bartlett's voice lit up as soon as she heard the word. "I take pride in defense. If I hear 'I'm going to score on you, I'm going to give you buckets', I'm like 'no, you're not at all'. Blocking shots is like scoring 40 points. I love blocking shots."
Here is a game in which Bartlett recorded 11 blocks...
Bartlett knows how much emphasis the coaching staff at Syracuse puts on defense, it was one of the reasons she pledged orange after de-committing from Tennesse.
"Their style of play, they are a defensive team, and hey, I love defense so that was another big thing."
Bartlett also appreciated how the coaching staff at Syracuse recruited her, she wasn't just a good player they were trying to get.
"What separated Syracuse was mainly how much they talked to me. They actually wanted to get to know who I was as a person. The coaches treated me like family."
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, athletes' training regime around the country has been impacted. Some have gained weight, others may have lost a touch as most gyms were closed. Although the beginning of the pandemic was a little rough for Bartlett, she has found her groove with help from her mentor, trainer, and motivator in her father.
"When the virus first hit and things were shut down, I was doing workouts at home," said Bartlett. "I stay in an apartment so we were doing stairs, body-weight stuff, I was running, push-ups, sit-ups. Once the gyms opened back up, I was going twice a week and still doing home workouts with my dad, who is the number one reason for where I am today."
Bartlett, who is looking forward to a full season of high school basketball ahead of her, has a simple message for 'Cuse nation when she arrives.
"Take this ride along with me. Let's take this ride together."