Starting this month, The Tech is launching a new “Player of the Month” feature profiling one of MIT’s premier athletes from across varsity and club teams. Kicking off the series is women’s basketball sensation, Sarbina Drammis ’16.
This season, Sarbina Drammis became just the seventh player in the history of the program to surpass 1000 points. En route to being named to the Academic All-America First Team, she played in all five positions this season and led the Engineers to a sixth place finish in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). This was MIT’s best season in over a decade.
Described by her head coach as “a leader and one of the hardest working student-athletes I have ever coached,” Sabrina has improved leaps and bounds over the last three years and emerged as one of the best players in a fiercely competitive league. We caught up with her just days after she was named to the Academic-All America First Team. She appeared remarkably humble and already extremely motivated for the next season.
The Tech: Congratulations on an amazing season and on being named to the Academic All-America Women’s Basketball first team! What are your thoughts looking back at the season?
Sabrina Drammis: Thanks. I feel honored to have gotten that award. I couldn’t have done it without my team. Everyone works really hard and we did a lot of good things this season. Unfortunately we fell short of our goal of winning the NEWMAC championship. But now we’re focused on the next season and working hard to get it done. I want to see it happen before I leave.
TT: Let’s go back a few years — when did you know you wanted to play competitively?
SD: I used to play tennis very competitively but got convinced otherwise by my high school basketball coach. I was playing tennis at Smith Stearns Tennis Academy and training everyday. I was at a new school and wanted to try different things, and the varsity coach finally convinced me to stop playing tennis and moved me up to the varsity basketball team.
I rode the bench that season, but I got to see a lot of good players play. That’s when I realized this was the sport I wanted to pursue. I really enjoyed it.
TT: You were a high school state champion in tennis and even decided to split time between tennis and basketball in your freshman year. What tilted it in favor of basketball moving forward?
SD: I was losing some interest in tennis. I was getting burnt out as I was playing a lot. My varsity coach convinced me to shift and I didn’t regret it. I enjoyed playing tennis at a less competitive level, like with my high school team, as opposed to playing USTA tournaments.
TT: Do you miss playing tennis?
SD: I play when I can recreationally. Luckily, last summer where I worked at Second Spectrum, we played as an office once a week. I enjoyed that a lot.
TT: You had a dream final season at the Hilton Head High School. You were quoted afterwards saying, “I really couldn’t ask for any more. It was a great year”. Could you take us through that year, in particular what you achieved and what it meant to you?
SD: Wow! That was a long time ago! We won our region that year. After our freshman year, people thought our team wouldn’t be as good because we lost a lot of seniors. But my good friends and I worked really hard. In my sophomore year, we weren’t that successful, but both in my junior and senior years we won the regional.
I enjoyed being part of the team. I liked the coach and improved a lot as a player.
TT: You must have had plenty of offers at your disposal. What prompted you to come to MIT?
SD: Well, I knew I wanted to play basketball and I wanted to do computer science. It really came down to a few options, and then I visited MIT twice. I came on a recruiting trip during the fall and that’s when I spent a ton of time with the team and realized how awesome the team was. They were really cool people. Then I came back for CPW and realized this place is really unique. People are really smart but nice and cool. Basically, the people, the excellent academics, the team, and the coaching staff who were pretty cool too convinced me to come to MIT.
TT: What is it like playing for the Engineers? What are practice schedules like during season and off-season?
SD: Official season practice starts October 15, so that is when we practice with the coaches. We practice 5-7 p.m. Mon-Fri and on Sat morning. During season we usually have two games a week.
In the off-season, in the fall we play pick up a couple of times a week, individually work out, do lifting, and conditioning with coach Williams and coach Viall.
In the spring, we play some pick up but focus on improving individual skills. We hit the weight room couple of times a week and work on quickness and agility.
TT: Let us go off court for a while, what are your interests academically and what do you like to do in your free time?
SD: I like Course 6 a lot. I am not really sure what specific area I want to go in yet. I am still exploring. Systems and security are two areas that are very interesting to me.
I love skiing. It is a huge passion of mine. I am not allowed to ski during basketball season but looking into the future, I would like to ski a lot.
I just got an electric drum-set. I am into music so want to get better at playing drums. I am also part of the Dance Troupe at MIT. I choreograph tap with my friend Patience.
What is your target for your final season as an Engineer?
I want to win the NEWMAC championship.
Editor’s note: This interview was edited for clarity and brevity.
If you want to nominate someone for “Player of the Month”, you can reach us at email@example.com.