SOUTH BEND, Ind. (BVM) – First impressions are always important, just ask Washington South Bend senior basketball star Amiyah Reynolds. Despite previously committing to the University of Maryland program to play alongside her older sister Mila, Amiyah still had a soft spot for the first D-I team to offer her a scholarship, Purdue. Fast forward to today and that first impression is a major reason why Amiyah committed to the Boilermakers in April after decommitting from the Terps.
“Their coaching staff really was my main thing, I really felt like I connected with [head] coach Katie [Gearlds],” Amiyah said. “Purdue was my first offer so I’ve been with her for a few years. She’s always been extremely high on my list and I always felt like I could be myself and I can talk to her.”
Boiler Up… pic.twitter.com/xYgaz9SDy4
— Amiyah Reynolds (@Amiyah_Reynolds) April 19, 2023
The relationship with Gearlds extends beyond the basketball court for Amiyah. Not only does she see the coach as a leader and mentor for her, but she also sees a little bit of herself in the fellow Indiana native.
“She’s an all-around type of coach. She’s not just worried about the business side of basketball or herself and how she looks, she’s genuinely concerned and always paying attention to her players as a person,” Amiyah said. “She likes to get hyped and she’s younger so she knows how kids get on the court and she wants to be excited with us. I think we’re really similar not only in our style of play but she’s uber-competitive and I love being competitive so I think we will get along in that area.”
Relationships played a key role in bringing the No. 43-ranked prospect in ESPN’s 2023 HoopGurlz ranking to West Lafayette. Her older sister Mila also made the decision to enter the transfer portal after her freshman year at Maryland and the two jointly decided to commit to Purdue. Amiyah is excited to get back on the court with her sibling and lifetime teammate.
“Seeing her play and me playing on Washington still this year, that was one of the first times we’ve really been apart I’d say. Even in travel ball when we were younger I’d always play a grade up so I’d play with her but I’m super excited for that part,” Amiyah said. “Just going to the same school, being at the same practices and being on the bench for her when she’s playing and stuff is going to be huge for me.”
— Steven Reynolds Jr (@LBI_Steve) May 6, 2023
Having played together most of their lives, Amiyah also feels that once the two are on the court together again, their innate connection will be noticeable and should help the Boilermakers in the future.
“People say sisters have special chemistry and I’d say that actually is a thing,” Amiyah said. “I just think getting on the court with her again will be super fun and I think we both help each other out in a lot of aspects you can’t really see and things other people can’t really do. I’m so excited to have her.”
— Steven Reynolds Jr (@LBI_Steve) April 19, 2023
Not only will Amiyah have her biological sister, but she will also have a sister-like bond with another player on the team. Her teammate at Washington South Bend, Rashunda Jones, has been committed to Purdue since 2021 and the trio is set to play together once again.
“We’re definitely excited to get back together, we have nothing but love for each other,” Amiyah said. “Shunda is basically a legitimate sister to us. She’s lived in our house at times, she’s always over, we went to high school all four years. It’s like adding another sister. It’ll be super fun. I’m curious how it will translate, but I think it will translate really well.”
The trio also hopes to bring similar success to the Boilermakers that they did to the Panthers. The last time the three played together, they led Washington South Bend to the Indiana High School Athletic Association 3A state championship in 2022, setting a 3A championship game record for most points with 93.
“We got a ring when we were all together our last year and that’s our goal in some form or fashion to win another championship whether that’s Big Ten or something bigger,” Amiyah said.
Run it back 🖤💛 pic.twitter.com/HISKD4rQK6
— Rashunda Jones (@rashunda_jones) April 19, 2023
Unfortunately, Amiyah will have to wait before she can get her Purdue career started. After averaging 15.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists, the 6-foot point guard suffered a season-ending foot injury in February. Amiyah has had surgery since and is in rehab, but the recovery will likely cost her the bulk of her freshman year and so she will take a redshirt in 2023.
“Recovery has been really good, there’s been no complications or anything and everything has been going smoothly, faster than they were expecting,” Amiyah said. “I just started doing physical therapy recently and I’ve been doing rehab for my ankle and everything around it in order to build up this whole leg I haven’t been using. It’s a slow process, but everything is going pretty well.”
Once she does make her way back onto the court, Amiyah is excited to show her game to the Purdue faithful. Amiyah sees herself as an “all around” player and, although she’s played point guard most of her career, she is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.
“I would describe myself as pretty versatile,” Reynolds said. “Usually I’ve been a point guard all of my high school years mainly, but I can play off the ball. Pretty much whatever coach needs me to do at the moment. I take a lot of pride in my defense, I’ve been able to use my versatility to guard a lot of outside players using my length. I take a lot of pride in offense and defense, facilitating is what I’m good at, finding the open player, setting people up and making everyone around me better.”
While it may be a year before Boilermakers fans get to see Amiyah on the court, she is ready to change the program’s culture alongside Mila and Jones just like they did at Washington.
“We came in as underdogs and won a championship and went runner-up the year before and it’s kind of the same story,” Amiyah said. “Purdue is not the biggest and most known right now, but we’re going to try to come in and make some changes and get Purdue back up.”