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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin Cummings

VT's Georgia Amoore is Grounded and Grateful

Opened-toed sandals are not considered a shoe optimized for basketball; yet, when Georgia Amoore first stepped onto the basketball court at age five, she donned street clothes and flip-flops. An impromptu sub plucked from the stands at her cousin’s basketball game after too many players fouled out, Georgia took this opportunity and jumped into the game. Post-game, although her feet had likely seen better days, Georgia’s heart was full and she knew this would not be the last time she would play basketball.

Now, Georgia Amoore, the 20-year-old guard from Ballarat, Australia, sports bright pink Kobe 6’s instead of tan flip-flops while dominating the court at Virginia Tech. Although she brims with optimism and describes her basketball journey as overwhelmingly positive, it has been a long, winding road full of significant obstacles. She has managed to overcome them time and time again with her fervent spirit.

From a young age, Georgia’s mother, Kelly Amoore, instilled in Georgia two things: a sense of humor, and perseverance. She would tell Georgia: “Adversity is something that you get through, and come out the other side stronger.”

As an athletic and energetic child, Georgia participated in a slew of sports, including cricket, netball, taekwondo, Australian football, and basketball. While playing Australian football, she was hit so hard she lost consciousness and sustained a cut to her head that would require stitches. She awakened, prone on the field, with her mother standing above her - reminding her that there was still another quarter to play.

Although she left the field on a stretcher unable to finish the game, she would always remember her mother’s lesson: when knocked down, no matter how hard, she had to get back up.

Georgia’s giftedness in the many sports she played throughout elementary and middle school led her to a crossroads at age 14. Her increased obligations and busy schedule would no longer permit her to pursue all of her passions. She had to choose a path. The choice was clear for Georgia: basketball.

After playing locally for her small city of Ballarat through most of her childhood, Georgia’s basketball and the opportunities that came with it skyrocketed with her full commitment. During this developmental period, she continued to play in Ballarat. In addition, she took on a role as part of the Melbourne development squad.

Training with this team entailed driving two hours each way each Thursday to practice. To accommodate for this large commitment, she would leave school early, miss out on various social events, and give up much of her already limited free time. Although these were significant sacrifices, she viewed these as small and necessary means to an end in order to pursue the sport she loved.

Next, Georgia began playing for the Australian National Basketball League (ABL) development team, or what she described as “Australia’s G-League equivalent.” With this team, she traveled to various new and exciting places including Belarus, India, Malaysia, Germany, and the United States. While the constant travel was extremely taxing on Georgia and her family, she expressed nothing but gratitude for these opportunities, explaining that these moments were some of the most formative parts of her basketball career.

Already busy with her travels and competitions, Georgia’s challenges increased further during her recruiting journey. While mapping out her future, Georgia considered the idea of playing college basketball in the United States. Australia’s lack of athletic scholarships and university-sponsored programs meant that the United States would be the best option for achieving her academic and athletic aspirations. Georgia’s cousin, who rowed at Syracuse, spoke fondly of her student-athlete experience in the United States, further solidifying Georgia's interest in relocating.

Once she was set on attending a U.S. college to play NCAA D1 basketball, Georgia began the grueling recruiting process. Amoore’s highlight tapes did not do justice to her skill or on-court presence, and she relied heavily on face-to-face opportunities to showcase herself to coaches.

As an international recruit, the opportunities she had to gain exposure to college coaches were few and far between. The limited interactions she did have came from international travel tournaments and her brief stint as a member of the NBA Academy. Georgia knew that she would have to make the most of every in-person moment she had in front of coaches and recruiters. Additionally, Georgia’s small stature, standing a mere five-foot-six-inches, meant that her physicality alone did not make her a standout player.

Despite these obstacles, Georgia did not back down. Rather than dwell on her struggles to get seen by coaches, Georgia maintained hope and confidence. She capitalized on every in-person interaction she did have. In tournaments with recruiters present, Georgia shined. What she lacked in size, she made up for with her demanding and fiery court presence and honed skills.

To combat the struggles that accompanied her stature, Georgia worked with her coaches to conceive a system of play that would allow her to maximize her strengths, never making excuses or allowing her size to become a barrier to her dreams.

Once she started to garner some interest from recruiters, Georgia had to choose a college. She had been dead-set on attending one college, but they offered the spot to a different athlete. Although this could have been seen as a devastating defeat, Georgia did not let it deter her and she moved on to her other options, including Virginia Tech.

Georgia spent a significant amount of time building relationships with the coaching staff who expressed continued and genuine interest and excitement in having her join their team. She trusted her gut and joined the Hokies, finding the perfect fit.

Following her commitment to Virginia Tech, the challenges and obstacles continued. After representing Australia in the u17 tournament, she narrowly missed out on representing the nation as a member of the u19 team. Georgia could have let this defeat dampen her spirit, but in true Georgia fashion, she kept working with more tenacity and fire than before.

Once she was at Virginia Tech, her resolve was further tested. Her freshman year, only briefly after moving across the world, Georgia found herself isolated from her family, in a new environment, and adjusting to college and college basketball amid an unprecedented pandemic.

As difficult as the pandemic was for every student, it was especially difficult for Georgia. Due to restrictions in Australia, she went almost two years without seeing her family or returning home. To make matters worse, she ended up contracting the virus early on in the pandemic, when little was known about the severity or the long-term implications of COVID-19. Despite this distressing situation, Georgia leaned on her teammates and coaches and kept a positive outlook.

Georgia started living with her roommate Elizabeth Kitley in March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. This is when their friendship blossomed, and they grew extremely close. As Elizabeth Kitley explained, Georgia became “part of the Kitley family.” Georgia’s lesson from the pandemic is consistent with her attitude toward other challenges she has faced, explaining: “I think Covid matured me more than anything else. I know that if I complained or pitied myself that I would waste all the amazing opportunities I have for the short amount of time I have in college.”

Now that the world has regained some sense of normalcy, Georgia continues to capitalize on every opportunity she is given. On the court, Georgia is confident, comfortable, fiery, and plays with a sense of productive vengeance, never letting someone beat her twice. Kitley describes her as “a total competitor” with an innate sense of intensity and toughness, the same ideals her mom instilled in her at a young age.

This attitude has paid off, as Georgia has had an extremely successful start to her collegiate career. Recently garnering ACC player of the week honors for helping lead her team to a fantastic season start, Georgia is a leader on the court despite her underclassman status. Beyond just basketball, Georgia has taken advantage of her success to help others, stressing the importance of leaving a positive impact in every interaction. As someone who others describe as a reserved, quiet, softie off the court, Georgia understands people and their emotions, as well as their limits.

Throughout her life, and specifically her basketball career, the times where Georgia has faced adversity or been denied opportunities have been the most influential in her development. Each challenge equips her with new skills to help her work through future obstacles. Her positive outlook is infectious, and she spreads joy wherever she goes. She shares nuggets of wisdom between her usual good-humored banter and infectious laugh.

“Life is too short to be so gloomy all the time. There are absolutely tough times, but when you have the opportunities to have the highs and the good times, have them and enjoy them because of the highs and lows, that's life, but the more highs you have, the happier you will be overall,” she said.

In many ways, Georgia Amoore is like many other 20-year-old women. Over quarantine, she fostered an unhealthy TikTok addiction and watched an entire season of Love Island in a one-shot, zombie-like binge. Her dog, Winnie, does not listen to her unless she has a treat in hand, she makes memes of her teammates, and she will jump at any opportunity to take control of the aux to play “Feeding the Family” by Spacey Jane, or “Big Tragedy” by The Wombats.

However, in many ways, Georgia is different from her peers. She approaches every obstacle with a mature and grounded perspective well beyond her years. This is the essence of what makes Georgia Amoore so special both on and off the court..

Her mother, who knows her daughter better than anyone in the world, summed it up nicely: “If she was not a great kid, she would not have been able to do what she has done, putting up with the struggles she has faced,” adding that “Georgia deserves everything that comes her way.”

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