With D1 offers in hand, Ruot moves closer to fulfilling dream

January 5, 2021

Nyakoat Ruot

The secret is out on Anchorage’s Nyakoat Ruot.

The Class of 2022 rising star has already received scholarship offers from a half dozen NCAA D1 women’s basketball programs and more are certain to follow.

Ruot is here for it. All of it. The Bartlett High all-conference forward has her sights set on reaching the college game’s greatest stage at the D1 level.

With offers in hand, she is ready to give her hoops dream everything she’s got.

“Basketball is a high-speed sport, so playing halfheartedly doesn’t get you where you want to be in this sport,” Ruot said. “I have a passion for this game and I will pursue that passion.”

Her current college offers are from Cincinnati, Portland State, Cal State Bakersfield, Florida Atlantic, Manhattan and Tennessee-Martin.

“In a college program I look for academic majors available and if the school is the best athletic fit for me,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to play D1 basketball … it’s the most competitive level of basketball, which is the most beneficial for me.”

The 6-foot Ruot is most effective near the basket, where she can best utilize her size and speed. She’s a double-double waiting to happen.

Ruot has thrived under a Bartlett coaching staff led by bench boss Clarence Smith Sr., a former Cook Inlet Conference Girls Coach of the Year.

The Golden Bears focus on discipline, accountability and having fun.

“We play free,” Ruot said. “The coaching staff doesn’t believe in boxing kids in.”

Ruot looks to become the second current Bartlett player to sign with a D1 school, joining senior Amelia Uhila, who is headed to Portland State.

It’s not by accident.

The Bartlett coaches talk to the girls about their goals, she said. And then help each player work towards achieving them.

“Bartlett players are going D1 because going D1 is our goal, so we work for it,” Ruot said. “Our coaches put a lot of effort into getting us to be noticed by D1 coaches.”