ASU basketball's Peace Amukamara carries on family tradition

Defense has been a lasting theme for Amukamara throughout her life.

For ASU senior guard Peace Amukamara, defense runs in the family for five sisters and one brother.

Precious, the second-oldest sister and the oldest athlete among the girls, graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2012 after competing in track and field. The youngest sister, Passionate, is a freshman on Northern Arizona's women's basketball team. She won defensive player of the year three times in high school.

Promise graduated from ASU last year after a successful career of her own on the women's basketball team, gaining a reputation as one of the elite perimeter defenders in the entire country with a knack for shutting down the best player on the opposing team. 

Promise was drafted to the Phoenix Mercury for the final pick of the 2015 WNBA draft before getting waived and traveling overseas. She's currently playing in Spain.

Promise said she tried to teach Peace about the extra things that are necessary for athletic success.

"Just the level of focus that she needs day in and day out," she said. "I think (I was) really just trying to mature her as a player coming into Division I."

The oldest sibling and lone brother, Prince, is a defensive back who was drafted by the New York Giants in 2011. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prince won a Super Bowl with the Giants in his rookie year in the NFL, and is a fierce defender of both opposing wide receivers and his own religious beliefs — he doesn't drink and remained celibate until marriage.

While the athletic talent in the Amukamara family comes in large part from mother Christy, who competed as a sprinter in the 1984 Olympics, the passion for defense that all the Amukamaras share starts with their father, Romanus.

Romanus Amukamara and his children are royalty in their native country of Nigeria. His father was the chief of the Awo-Omamma people and Prince is next in line. As a young man, Romanus immigrated to the U.S. in pursuit of an education and went on to serve in the U.S. army. While his children now make a living by defending fellow athletes, Romanus once chose to defend his newly adopted home country.

Defense of African tradition was also strong in the Amukamara household. According to NJ.com, Peace and her sisters would take care of chores while Prince focused on football. Because it is tradition for the son not to do any kind of work around the house, these duties ranged from doing Prince's laundry to cooking meals for him.

But with four of the five sisters involved in collegiate athletics, it's safe to say that the Amukamara sisters made names for themselves.

Peace Amukamara has emerged as the backup point guard on a Sun Devil team that ranks No. 9 in the country, in pursuit of a Pac-12 title and a deep postseason run. However, much like her family's journey to the U.S., Peace's journey to ASU has been anything but ordinary.

Peace was born in New Jersey, but soon after her family moved to Arizona. It was in Arizona that Peace developed into an all-state honorable mention basketball player and 2011 state champion, playing alongside Promise.

The two sisters spent three seasons apart as Promise went directly to ASU and Peace spent two years at Mesa Community College. In her final year at MCC, Peace won an NJCAA Division II national title and all-American honors. It was at that point when she decided to transfer to ASU and play alongside her sister once again.

During her year in college with Promise, Peace said she matured greatly and learned some important lessons from her big sis.

"It was hard at first. I wasn't happy, but I'm glad I kind of stuck through it," she said. "(Promise) helped me a lot with school, practice, eating — everything."

Peace is quiet and reserved, but she lets her play do the talking. Her excellent defensive effort and scoring contribution were key in ASU's recent victory on the road at No. 15 Stanford.

ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said there are a variety of personalities in this senior class, and Peace stands out in her own way.

"This is the most singing and dancing team I've ever been around," Turner Thorne said with a laugh. "But Eliza (Normen) and Peace (Amukamara) might be a little bit more lowkey."

You wouldn't be able to tell that Peace is so reserved just by watching her play. Flying around on defense, it's hard to miss her presence out on the court. ASU certainly appreciates this new-found defensive presence, but it's nothing new for Peace or for the Amukamaras.

Her family is living proof that the name Amukamara is synonymous with defense.

Related Links:

Sophie Brunner's buzzer-beater lifts ASU women's basketball over Stanford

ASU women's basketball preparing for defining road trip in Bay Area


Reach the reporter at rclarke6@asu.edu or follow @RClarkeASU on Twitter.

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