Amanda Burakoski, junior and guard for the women’s NSU basketball team, has had a very eventful basketball career. She began playing the sport as a young girl and eventually played for recreational leagues and high school, along with Division 1 and Division II universities. Even though basketball has been a major part of her life since she was small, the sociology major doesn’t want to turn professional; she wants to make a career out of working with children with developmental disabilities.
Burakoski’s high school career — at The Mary Louis Academy in Queens, New York — was one that most athletes only dream of. She was a four-year letter winner, averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds per game, and ended her high school career with 1,852 points. Upon leaving high school, Burakoski was a 2009 McDonald’s All-American nominee and was ranked as the 14th best player in her position by ESPN.com.
After high school graduation, Burakoski attended St. John’s University, a Division I school in New York City, where she played for two seasons. During her freshman season, she averaged 5.3 minutes, 1.4 points and 1 rebound per game. She improved tremendously in between her freshman and sophomore seasons, finishing as runner-up for “most improved player” in the Big East. In Burakoski’s sophomore season, she averaged 19.4 minutes, 5.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
After transferring to NSU, Burakoski was redshirted and sat out the 2011-2012 season, but was named to the Sunshine State Conference Academic Honor Roll. The 2012-2013 season has started off as a great debut for Burakoski, as she is currently averaging 26.5 minutes, 13.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
I sat down with Burakoski and asked her a few questions:
When did you start to play basketball?
I started when I was about 5 years old in a YMCA league. My mom was playing in a league and she found out they had one for little kids, so she signed me up.
What is your best basketball memory?
At St John’s, we were playing against Georgetown and we were down by 3 with like 42 seconds left, and I got fouled on a three-pointer. I got knocked down, but it went in and I tied the score, but they didn’t call the foul. We ended up going into overtime and winning.
What is your best basketball accomplishment?
I was runner-up for “most improved player” in the Big East, but I didn’t get it because it came down to seniority and I was only a sophomore. I lost to a future WNBA player, Natalie Novosel.
Why did you decide to transfer to NSU?
I wanted a change. I think the weather is great and everything up [in New York City], but even a division change was needed. I felt like I didn’t have enough time to work on school work.
What is the hardest part about being a student-athlete?
I would say time management. I have a lot more time here than I did at my previous school, but practice is still right in the middle of the day. It makes it hard to find time to do homework.
What has been your favorite place to play?
I liked playing at Louisville. Their new KFC Yum! Center is really nice. It was brand new my sophomore year.
Who is your favorite athlete?
Henrik Lundquist, the goalie from the New York Rangers. I like his whole attitude. He knows he’s the man of the team, but he’s really modest and not super cocky.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
I’m going to say Adam Sandler. He’s really funny.