No one steps on the court and wants to lose. That being said, not everyone has the same amount of fire and passion in them when it comes to the desire to win. Amante Britt can tell you that better than anyone.
Britt has been at The Rock for what seems like a lifetime. After graduating from Woodland Hills High School in 2018, he made his way to Slippery Rock.
“The coaching that they had here [is the reason I came to The Rock]. I talked to Coach [Ian] Grady, and he presented something to me that I really liked, and I felt like I could thrive here,” Britt said.
Britt was also lucky that the university was close to home. It was a perfect match for both Slippery Rock and Britt.
In his freshman season, he proved himself early on. He was the only player to start every game that season. But that did not matter—what did was that he helped the team get to the PSAC tournament, and they did it with pride.
“One of the first things I noticed about Slippery Rock is that it has a lot of pride, and I like to think of myself as a person who has a lot of pride,” Britt said.
Unfortunately, things did not end the way anyone hoped. A 73-68 loss at home against Mercyhurst sent The Rock home, and his want for winning grew.
Throughout this time, his relationship with Grady continued to develop.
“He started as my assistant coach, but as you know, you mostly deal with your assistant coach, and my relationship with him has helped me grow not only on the court but in life,” Britt said. “He really cares about all his players, and I like that about him, so that really helped me thrive.”
He was able to run things back with Micah Till the next year. They shared the court against the University of Pittsburgh down at the Petersen Events Center. The crucial part was learning under Till.
The year was defined by close losses in hard spots. It did not matter, because they were still in the PSAC tournament again. They had a shot and not every team got that opportunity. But once again, they fell. This time at the hands of Pitt-Johnstown.
That was not the only bad news to hit that March. The COVID-19 pandemic hit and as the story goes, no one played any sport for the next year.
That meant that Britt had to work to keep himself in shape.
“I really just wanted to focus on my game because there was nothing else to do,” Britt said. “So I just focused on being in the gym for a countless amount of hours and getting my body right.”
During that time, the itch to get back on the court just got worse and worse. It was nearly two years before Britt and The Rock stepped on the court together again.
The next time they played a game together wasn’t until November of 2021, and it was halfway across the country. They squared off with the University of Iowa. The result was to be expected, but the result was not the focus on this go around. It was more so that the team was back on the court.
The playoffs were still getting at Britt though.
He so desperately wanted to get back to them and get a win. Two tries and two fails just did not sit right with him. Newcomer Tyler Fredrick and the way he was playing gave the team a real shot.
“Guys like Tyler, he’s high motor and high intensity, so that showed me that I have to match that,” Britt said. “Playing with guys like that just means you can’t take a day off, and you just have to be up to par every day.”
The Rock showed their potential with Britt and Fredrick leading the way. They helped string together a six-game win streak that included four PSAC wins. Those wins were important down the stretch.
When everything was said and done, they were in the tournament again though. It was exactly where Britt wanted to be.
He also started to turn into more of a leader, which is something that has continued on and on.
“Last year helped me grow tremendously as a leader. I took a role of being more vocal, and it was something new for me,” Britt said. “It helped me on the court because I gained the trust of my guys.”
But for the third time in as many tries, The Rock dropped their first-round matchup.
“Just letting our guys know what we’re capable of and staying focused has been our issue,” Britt said. “In the past couple of years, we lost focus in the past, so we just [want to be dialed in for a whole season].”
Playing in the PSAC is no easy task, and that’s something Britt knows.
“No disrespect to any other conference, but I feel like we play in one of the upper conferences in division II basketball,” Britt said. “Every night is a challenge no matter who you’re playing, and teams like IUP are fun to play against because I love to compete.”
That love for competition made the decision to come back an easy one. Britt, who is a graduate player now, knew he wasn’t ready to leave. The desire to win pulled him right back in.
“I want to win, and I feel like last year we had a taste of that,” Britt said. “I feel good this year too, so I just want to bring a title home to Slippery Rock.”