- Sydney Umeri, rising junior
- Lovett School
Sydney Umeri is gaining a large reputation in Atlanta for her advanced athleticism and basketball skills. Her passion for the sport and talented play has landed her a spot on the United State’s Under Sixteen National Women’s Basketball Team.
Sydney was born in Atlanta on Oct. 2, 1995, to a Kenyan mother and a Nigerian father, and is one of three children. At the age of 7, Sydney decided to try basketball like her older stepsister, Victoria.
“It was just something else for me to do. I was terrible! Then I practiced a lot, and I really worked hard,” Sydney says.
A rising junior at the Lovett School in Atlanta and a member of the Lovett girls’ varsity basketball team, Sydney says her favorite part of the sport is that “if you learn a lesson, you can always apply it to the outside world.”
“For example,” she said, “we have to learn how to lose gracefully, which applies to real life. Basketball has taught me a lot of the big lessons that I have learned growing up.”
With the USA team, Sydney traveled to Mexico to play in the world championship against teams such as Canada, South America, Brazil, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. Sydney enjoys being a part of the team, and says that it is “really cool getting to play with people that are on your same level and who share the same goals as you.”
Sydney also plays for the AAU Peak Performance basketball league in Atlanta. Bruce Price has coached Sydney since she was in the sixth grade and has taught her most of what she knows.
“Sydney has got to be the hardest worker on the basketball court that the league has,” Price said. “Her work ethic is superior, and she’s an incredible person on and off of the court. Every practice, Sydney asks me how she can improve. She is never satisfied with the current state, and she is constantly wanting to utilize all of the gifts and talents that she was given.”
Price reflects on when Sydney first started playing basketball, and agrees that she was not the best player on the team. Yet, he saw her talent shining at an early age. “I always preach to my kids that other people can see what is in you, but until you recognize, it is worth nothing.”
For those who know Sydney, it is apparent that she is extremely dedicated to the sport. In her free time, when she is not in a practice or playing in a game, Sydney still feels that it is necessary to practice. The 15-year-old also enjoys being with her family, and spending time with her friends.
Even though many colleges have expressed an interest in Sydney, the athlete is still keeping her options open. Until then, Sydney says she will continue to work hard and most importantly, have fun.