Ranked second in the Big West in 3-point percentage, international student and CSUF women’s basketball freshman forward Amiee Book has not only played basketball at the collegiate level, but has also played for the New Zealand national team.
At a young age, Book was surrounded by basketball. Both her parents played the sport, and her father reached the professional level. But even with the pressure of having a father who played professionally, Book said there was never any demand to play basketball.
“I just like the competitive nature of it, and how there’s so much to learn so you can never master it, (there’s) always stuff to learn and ways to get better,” Book said.
As a child, Book was coached by her father Ed Book, a member of the 2004 New Zealand Olympic team. After playing at Canisius College, Ed Book said that the experience he had in school would help his daughter decide which college she would attend.
“So once she decided that this is the pathway she wanted to go, it was our jobs to prepare her for this,” Ed Book said.
In her four years of high school, Amiee Book was a team captain and played for her country as part of the national basketball team in 2016 and 2017. During her last year with the New Zealand National team, Amiee Book’s trip to Guam for the Oceania Qualifiers with the women’s team drew the attention of CSUF women’s basketball head coach Jeff Harada.
“(Amiee) was a tough kid, she was competitive. She had this international experience, playing against older, better players her whole life,” Harada said.
After her international basketball experience, Amiee Book decided to play for the Titans, where she fell in love with Harada’s vision for the team.
“We are trying to create a family environment. For recruits like Amiee, it’s a home away from home,” Harada said.
The opportunity to bond with teammates was an important aspect for the New Zealand native when she signed with CSUF.
The skills Amiee Book refined in New Zealand paid dividends as her 10.5 points per game this season is the third highest scoring average on the team. Harada is a fan of her ability and experience, and the different dimensions her 6-foot height brings to their defense.
Two straight treys from Amiee Book and she leads the team in scoring towards the end of the first!
— Titans Women’s Basketball (@FullertonWBB) February 17, 2019
While Amiee helps lead the Titans to victory, her family can’t cheer her on from the stands. Instead, her father settles for watching the games via livestream, though that doesn’t stop him from showing emotion.
“I still get quite animated at the TV screen, which is good so she probably can’t hear me. I think it’s great so that way I can see what she’s doing and we still have chats about what she can do better,” Ed Book said. “The coach in me is always there.”
Her father said that he was inspired by his daughter’s work ethic from a young age, and she has applied it to her teammates by encouraging them to do their best, including helping them accomplish their best mile time.
This drive to always improve was one she learned from a young age and from her dad, who she says is her toughest critic.
“I don’t sugarcoat things for her; that’s her mother’s job. My job is just to tell her the way it is. I always still tell her what she’s doing well and a lot of positive things,” said Ed Book.
Amiee Book’s father also tells her what she needs to work on.
“I’m there to say, here’s what you need to do. This is what you need to work on, and then support her with making those changes and ways that she wants to go,” said Ed Book.
The freshman forward doesn’t mind the pressure or the criticism because she’s always looking to improve.
Despite coming off the bench for the majority of the season, Amiee Book has played the fourth-most minutes per game on the team and has earned a spot in the starting lineup for the last five games.
Head Coach Harada sees her as a leader for the team and attributes this to her hard work, saying that Book is a winner all-around and the kind of person you want to build a program around.
While Amiee Book is only in her first year with the Titans, Harada said she has untapped potential, especially as she gets more accustomed to the American style of basketball.
“Here, you’ve got freedom to play and create within the offense more,” Amiee Book said.
Off the court, she plans to study in physiotherapy or kinesiology. After college, she hopes to be able stay close to the sport and play in Europe.
Amiee saw her dad play in Europe, and it inspired her to visit.
“I’ve just always wanted to travel, and I think that basketball is a great way to do that,” Amiee said, hoping to one day represent her home country of New Zealand.