Associate in Arts
Amir Royal’s life has been anything but easy. Growing up in California and Las Vegas he spent much of his time being shuffled from house-to-house and school-to-school, witnessing domestic, child, and drug abuse as well as violence, shootings, and murder. During all this turmoil, Royal never lost hope that he was put on this earth for a purpose. “God put me on a journey to have faith and stay strong over obstacles that were going to try to put me down,” stated Royal.
In third grade he began playing basketball. Wanting to improve his skills, he worked with a neighborhood kid and began organizing. By high school he was good enough to play on the freshman team. His skills continued to improve and his senior year was his most memorable. “During my senior year I average 25 ppg and 8 reb. I was the 3rd leading scorer in the state of Nevada and got recognized by an AAU team called Marcus Banks Hard 2 Guard. Summer time was also a wonderful time being around coaches who just wanted to help kids get an education. These coaches saw my potential and wanted me to go to a division one school,” he continued.
Following high school he enrolled at Bakersfield College. Ultimately, realizing he wanted a different college experience, he looked to YVC. “Yakima Valley’s Coach Ray Funk, saw me the summer of 2010 and wanted me to come to his school my freshman year. But since I did not have the right credits for a high school diploma it didn’t work out. After attending Bakersfield College for a year I was able to transfer. Coach Funk cares about basketball but he cares more about education and wanting to see a young man succeed. He wanted to help people and I felt a connection with him. I will never remember how many points I had but I will always remember the memories we had as a team at Yakima,” he continued.
After completing his associate degree he transferred to Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, where he continued his basketball career and recently completed a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. He hopes to work as a probation officer for troubled teens. “I know what they go through, I’ve been there. I feel I can help teens. There was a point where I wanted to give up and quit but I had the right people in my life. I feel if I can make it anyone can,” he concluded.