Amanda Pfohl is a perfect example that one’s success can be made up of both nature and nurturing.
A Trumbull High standout on the basketball court — she will be playing for coach Bert DeSalvo’s Southern Connecticut State Owls next season — Pfohl has been shaping her in-bred skills with a lot of family love and understanding.
“I am competitive by nature,” Pfohl said while waiting to take the court on Tuesday when the Eagles took on Danbury High. “But, I have to credit my family for everything.
“My dad (John) was my first coach, and looking back I’ve been so lucky to have had him teach me to play from a young age.
“You have to understand what being part of a basketball family is like to know how important my mom (Dawn) is to everything we do.
“My best friends are my sisters (THS alum Victoria and Alexa) and my brother J.J. loves the game (on the Trumbull High boys team).
“We are definitely a basketball family. Because of travel teams, most our vacations are climbing in a car and going to tournaments.”
Pfohl’s ability to play the game right drew DeSalvo’s attention.
“We identified Amanda early on as a player we wanted to join our program,” DeSalvo said. “She has length, a great shot, and can stretch the floor. She has a great basketball IQ. Amanda’s a blue-collar kid with leadership qualities, a real team player. She brings a lot to the table.”
When asked about her innate ability to see the floor, Pfohl said, “My first memory is going to watch my dad’s teams play (at Kolbe) and then my sisters.
“I learned the lingo and the more I got to play the more I understood the game. It is all about teamwork.
Trumbull coach Steve Tobitsch said, “I have always been impressed with Amanda’s focus and determination to become the best possible basketball player that she could become.
“It has been a pleasure coaching Amanda throughout these past four years. As a result she has now earned herself a scholarship to attend Southern University next fall.
“Amanda’s work ethic every day in practice helps make our team better by the intensity and focus she brings each and every day.
“This is hard to do but if you want to be good at something you have to come every day to practice looking to improve yourself and your teammates.
“From day one, Amanda brought her basketball first mentality and that is why she is the only freshman that I have coached in my nine years now at Trumbull High that has started from her first game as a freshman till now as a senior.”
Earning a varsity berth was important Pfohl.
“I always wanted to play up (a level) to get as much experience as possible, but to get to play on the varsity with both my sisters as a freshman (Victoria was a senior; Alexa a junior) was the best experience I’ve ever had,” she said.
“Now it’s strange to be a senior and everything is moving so fast. (Teammates) Kate O’Leary and I have been playing on the same team since fourth grade, and Dani McGillicuddy since fifth.
“I remember the three of us getting our pictures taken by the Trumbull Times at a game when we were in sixth grade and it read: “Future Trumbull High players.” And now here we are.
“The majority of my friends are on the basketball team. We are a family. We live basketball twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. For me it’s as important as breathing.”
While basketball has proven to be a welcome path for the Pfohls, Amanda is planning on expanding that familial unit through working with needy children.
“Southern is a great opportunity for me to play basketball and it fits my academic needs because of their awesome special education program,” she said.
“It was in second grade and I began to help a kid in my class named Joey. I just gravitated to him. It just felt right.
“In fifth grade, I worked with Megan Gerida with the Special Olympics and from there I was hooked.
“I can’t think of anything more important than teaching special education at the elementary school level.”