Jaspers Talk: Amani Tatum

This is a new bi-weekly Q&A series, where we talk with athletes and coaches from all the sports on campus.

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Amani Tatum’s 11 steals against Saint Peter’s on Jan. 21 fell one shy of the MAAC single-game record. GoJaspers/Courtesy

Amani Tatum’s 11 steals against Saint Peter’s on Jan. 21, fell one shy of the MAAC single-game record.

A product of Archbishop Molloy, who went to James Madison University before deciding to transfer to Manhattan College for the 2014-15 season, Amani Tatum made the move despite knowing she’d have to sit out that whole year because of NCAA transfer rules.

“In most cases, you may not compete for one year after transferring from a four-year college to another four-year college. This year is an opportunity to adjust to your new school and focus on your studies rather than sports.” (via NCAA.org)

She became eligible for the 2015-16 season, and it’s been worth the wait, as Tatum has had an excellent season. She’s shooting 76 percent at the free-throw line and averages three rebounds; three assists; three steals; and 12 points per game.

She took her game to another level when she earned the Metro Atlantic Conference Player of the Week honors for the week of Jan. 17-Jan. 24. Her 11 steals—second-highest total in the NCAA this season and one shy of a Manhattan and MAAC single-game record—and first career double-double performance in a 64-47 win against Saint Peter’s were perhaps the highlight of her season.

The Quadrangle: Communications major I noticed, that’s my major. What do you want to do with that?

Amani Tatum: I’d like to go into sports commentating, if not coaching. Somewhere I’m able to talk to people and do what I’m comfortable with.

TQ: Is that what do now on the court? Try to be as vocal as possible…

AT: Oh yeah, definitely. Just trying to be a voice everybody can hear. I’m an extension of the coaches, so I try to do that when I play more than anything.

TQ: You transferred from James Madison University. Why Manhattan College?

AT: Close to home. It kind of reminded of my high school: small-knit, everyone knows everyone, kind of like a big fish in a little pond kind of thing.

TQ: You didn’t play last year. You were on the sidelines here, I’m assuming, right?

AT: Yes.

TQ: What was it like watching the team, learning the culture, and now you can play with them?

AT: I can say it was a good and bad thing. Good because I got to actually learn certain things, see how my coaches work in certain situations. Bad, obviously, because of not playing and– it’s just like a waiting game. Just waiting and waiting.

TQ: How does it feel to be MAAC Player of the Week?

AT: It feels incredible. Definitely something I’ve been working towards. I’m proud of myself but a lot of credit goes to my team and certain things, working hard, coming to practice everyday…

TQ: How are you able to see the court so well to, not only, up your own game but also helping the team be on its recent three-game winning streak?

AT: It’s just coming to every practice, game ready to play; knowing that the next game is the most important; and just the mindset, honestly.

TQ: Three straight wins.

AT: Defense. More than anything, getting after it. I’ve said it a couple times, pressure; ball pressure; just communicating; and just having each other’s back in every situation.