The World According To Amis

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - January 21, 2009
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Bill Amis, philosopher

With an incoming roster boasting just two with playing time from a year ago, UH basketball coach Bob Nash was looking for his 6-foot-9-inch postman to carry some of the load while his new charges got accustomed to a new team, school, state, system and heightened degree of competition.

Outside of battles with strep (twice brought on by bad tonsils that will have to be removed come March), a knee injury, brand new teammates and a nightly move of positions, Bill Amis has done rather well, leading the team in blocks and rebounds. He’s second in minutes played and third in scoring and free-throw shooting. Minus Hiram Thompson’s perfect 1.000 in only eight chances and Amis is No. 2 - not that he’s happy with his own performance or the team’s 9-7 start at the time of this writing.

“At times we’ve played well, but we are definitely not where we want to be,” says Amis. “We wanted to win every home game and win the Rainbow Classic, and now we’re frustrated.”

Amis has literally grown into his role as a starter - he grew nine inches in high school - and as the team’s unofficial official captain. No election among teammates was held, and his coach never made a public pronouncement, but the job is his, and it’s a responsibility he’s slowly becoming used to.

“It’s a new role for me,” he says. “It’s been a learning experience for all of us. I’m just trying to do the best I can. I’m trying to be more vocal, but I also try to lead by example.”

Getting in the face of a team-mate is not something the quiet power forward is likely to do. He’s just not made that way. Maybe it’s because he was never a star and didn’t even get a single D-1 offer out of high school, or maybe he lacks the overly emotional chromosome that his teammate Petras Balocka has in abundance. But outward appearances aside, there is a spark of animation that does show itself if you take the time to look.

Nash swears Amis possesses a dry, subtle humor that has made him extremely popular among teammates - not to mention the unwitting accomplice in the Rainbows’ version of techno twins Slad and Vider. More on that later.

Aread through Amis’bio in the current media guide finds a man of depth and variety. Much like his outward personality, the subtle jibes at teammates, education and the pursuit of universal truth is hidden throughout, and fun to witness once uncovered.

At the time the standard questionnaire was filled out, Amis was a philosophy major who bounced between techno and classical music as his pregame inspiration, would love to spend a day in a teammates shoes, and included a coach and academic adviser among his all-time dinner guests. This is the world according to Amis.

The Oklahoma City native has changed his academic focus from the pursuit of logic to the more athletically friendly major of communications. He’s still carrying 15 credits, but following the circular path of Asian enlightenment and dealing with the confinement of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave takes more than a few hours of study and contemplation. Which, when combined with practice, meetings and weight lifting sessions, leaves little opportunity for the comparison of relativism and realism.

“It just takes a lot of time with basketball and everything else,” he says. “The whole degree is pretty hard, and I got tired of trying to prove that I’m sitting in this chair. I know I’m sitting in this chair.”

Amis explains that his answers to the mundane questions were more for personal enjoyment than actual revelation. Rap and not classical or techno is what you’ll find blaring from his pregame iPod, but each style does have its place. Classic rock from the Doors and the Eagles is what he’s most comfortable with, as is the Forrest Gump soundtrack.

“I just bought that one with my Christmas money,” he says with a smile.

While hip-hop may get him motivated to play, and classic rock


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