YSU assistant studies science of basketball

Amber Reeves

YOUNGSTOWN — Amber Reeves is the first person you’ll see as you enter the Youngstown State University women’s basketball office.

The 23-year-old greets you with a friendly hello and a big smile as you view her sitting off to your left.

She is YSU’s new director of basketball operations

Reeves was a graduate assistant coach at UNC-Wilmington, helping with on-campus visits, maintaining the recruiting database, equipment needs, along with helping with coaching details and social media duties.

She is a May 2017 graduate of UNCW with a degree in biology, working toward a master’s in chemistry.

So why is Reeves not in a lab somewhere honing her craft?

“She’s way too smart to be a coach,” joked YSU women’s coach John Barnes.

This is Reeves’ purpose-driven life, letting her passion, not degree, dictate her chosen path.

“Honestly, I think it’s where God wants me to be,” she said. “I’ve always been around basketball my whole life. After being around college basketball for four years, I feel it is my calling, to serve other people, be around the game I love. It’s always been a passion of mine to teach people things.

“Combining my passion along with serving people is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Dribbling. Shooting. Driving. A 5-year-old Reeves saw her older brothers play the game. It was something she emulated.

Her father, Thomas, began coaching her, molding her passion for basketball.

“He instilled in me a greatness, but also a very humble spirit,” Amber said. “That’s how I kind of attack the game with a grit about me. I feel blessed to be able to play the game of basketball, be around the game of basketball.

“My dad was someone who instilled in me to be an optimist about everything and look at everything as a blessing.”

Amber’s goal is to coach, eventually guide her own team.

“I’m very passionate about people,” she said. “Being able to help young girls become young women, grow themselves and see things in themselves they don’t see is something that is always been part of who I am.”

Barnes said he talks to all of his assistants about their future goals. Reeves is going to help with the YSU women’s basketball process as much as the NCAA rules allow.

She’ll also be busy working on her chemistry degree, but her current lab is on the Beeghly Center floor. That’s how the formula of someone so talented in the sciences and basketball mesh at YSU.

“She was a very good player, and sometimes that’s how it happens,” Barnes said. “You get the itch to stay in it. That’s a way, if you’re not playing, coach. She loves it. She’s a really hard worker and is a great job for us here. We’re excited about her future here.”