Q & A with Girls Basketball Star Amaya Charles and Coach Ulitzky


Jacob Lapidow

Photos Courtesy of: Dibo Elango


How long have you been on the varsity team? 

I just transferred to Grandview last year, so prior, freshmen and sophomore years. I was on varsity for Overland, and then I was on varsity Junior and Senior year for Grandview. 4 years in total.”

How do you balance school and basketball?

It’s not easy. I just try to take it one step at a time. We have practice right after school, so I do it on my off periods or during my lunch, and then after practice, which ends around 6 or 7, I try doing it a bit after that. It’s pretty hard, but it’s just trying to find any open opportunity to study.”

How do you mentally prepare yourself for a game?

The night before leading up to the game, I just try to focus mentally and space out any other distractions or anything else that’s bothering me, and I just completely focus on the game. Our coach always says, ‘be where your feet [are]’, so we just try to focus on just the game.”

Do you get nervous with people spectating at games?

At first it’s kind of nerve-wracking, but then once you start playing you kind of forget about the crowd, and then just focus on the game.”

How much would you say you feed off of the energy of the crowd?

A lot. Yeah, it’s like when the crowd’s pretty down or the bench is down, then I also play down. So I feel like once the crowd gets a lot of energy, I drive off of [their] energy.”




How’s the season going?

“It’s going pretty well. Our record is probably not reflective of how we are doing, but we’re improving and we’ve played some incredibly tough teams.”

How do you keep your players motivated?

“ [I] give them positive feedback and then when they talk about goals that they have set for themselves, we talk about what are things we can do to help them achieve the goals that they’ve set for themselves?”

As the players change over the years, do the team dynamics change as well?

“Absolutely. Yes, for sure, without a doubt. So, them trying to find where they connect and what’s good for them, so yeah it’s definitely a process every year.”


Coach Ulitzky talking to his players from the sideline.