She came out of nowhere, but she’s not going away anytime soon.
Canadian 15-year-old Laeticia Amihere, who competes scholastically for King’s Way Christian School in Ontario, catapulted on to the national radar by throwing down not one, but two hugely impressive dunks during recent action. The first we here at USA TODAY declared the most powerful dunk by a woman ever. She followed that effort up with an even more decisive slam in the warmup lines while preparing for a friendly border game between her Canadian junior squad and their U.S. counterparts.
While some might be intimidated by the sudden onslaught of attention, adulation and even the occasional hater, the 6-foot-3 Amihere has just been excited for others to take notice of her game, as she told USA TODAY.
“It’s been great. As a Canadian we don’t always get the publicity that we should get, and the same as a female,” Amihere said. “Just being able to get that publicity was amazing for me.
“Obviously there are those people who see the video and don’t think it’s a big deal, but the good always overshadows the bad.”
Perhaps the most remarkable part of Amihere’s rise has been just how easy she claims dunking was for her. The sophomore noted that her dunk kind of just happened. She didn’t have any serious training or extensive preparation for the slam, and in fact wasn’t even sure whether she had the correct form when she went up for the slam; she noticed that most NBA players take two steps and bring the ball to the rim from the left side and she tried to copy that model.
It sure seems like it worked.
“I think dunking helped my confidence,” Amihere said. “It was fairly easy and it wasn’t like it was a beginning of the game thing, it was in the third quarter when my legs were tired. I’d like to do that more often in games. I want to see other females do that more often and would like to see the sport change.”
Perhaps Amihere’s endurance and explosiveness are due in part to her passion for track. When she’s not on the court, the teen invests a significant amount of her time on the track, where she runs the 100 meters. In 2016 she ran the anchor leg of King’s Way Christian’s 4×100 relay en route to a state title in the event. She planned to add the high and long jump to her repertoire this year, but her extensive basketball schedule ruled out that opportunity.
Instead, she plans to spend much of the summer training and traveling with various different Canadian national teams. Despite playing in just her fourth year of basketball, Amihere has rocketed up the Canadian national system. She travels to Edmonton Thursday to take part in a try out for the full national team, which she is unlikely to make this year, but could find a spot with in the near future. She will compete as part of her cadet age group team, which will compete at a tournament in Argentina in June. A month later she is likely to also be part of a Canadian junior team which will travel to Italy for another international tournament.
It’s all a lot of basketball experience for one of the most exciting talents in the woman’s game who has so much still to come. She hopes to eventually compete for a national title at an American program to be determined — yes, she’s heard from many of the nation’s most significant woman’s basketball coaches — and is excited about wherever she goes in the sport in the years ahead.
“A lot of people see my dunk and say they want to see what I can do in a couple years,” Amihere said. “Even in the next month you can se the change, I can get higher. The dunk wasn’t a goal for me, so I tried it because no female from Canada had done it before. If I get my technique a little stronger, I think there can be a big change even in a month or two.”