Art by Khed
|No. 9 – Plymouth Taproots|
|Species||Orca ( Delphinidae )|
|Sam; the Bear Lake Monster; Holokai II|
|Born||Bear Lake, UT|
|Listed height||7 ft 4 in (2.24 m)|
|Listed weight||260 lb (118 kg)|
|School||Joseph Smith University|
|FBA draft||2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9th overall|
|Selected by the Baltimore Spirits|
|Pro playing career||2015–present|
|2016-2017||Las Vegas Wildcards|
|Career highlights and awards|
|2020 Salary||$3 million|
|2021 Salary||$3 million|
|(OOC) Usage||Ask me before any use|
Samantha Canuteson is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Baltimore Spirits of the Furry Basketball Association (FBA). Prior to being drafted in the FBA, Canuteson played basketball for Joseph Smith University from 2011 to 2015. During her collegiate career, Canuteson took an 18 month hiatus to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Canuteson family of orcas, as the name clearly indicates, is of Scandinavian descent. [Background about how Sam's family converted to Mormonism in 1850s Sweden, moved to Utah, and settled in/around Bear Lake.]
That legend, combined with her large size, is where Samantha Canuteson made her moniker, “Bear Lake Monster,” catch on when she started for Joseph Smith University’s basketball team the first semester of her freshman year in fall 2011. The school had only recently integrated the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the members of the latter, previously given the same short shrift in the public eye as most all-women sports teams, found themselves struggling to win the hearts of fans. Some, sensitive to sexism, say that Canuteson’s androgynous appearance, common among cetaceans, and unisex name could have caused fans to mistake her for a man, but among JSU’s biggest fan base—Mormon alumni—her sex was well-known from her high school days. In fact, the summer before entering JSU Sam starred in a nationally-aired ad spot for her church in which she declared, “I’m an aquatic. I’m a daughter. I play basketball. And I’m a Mormon.” Others attribute her popular success to her melding of physical play with a demure, endearing public personality.
Once her relationship with Darius Weldon, a cheetah sprinter for JSU who Sam had been dating since high school, was discovered by the press despite her efforts to keep it to herself, it only built her appeal more. “Adorable” was the most frequently-used tag for pictures of the 7’7” orca walking and laughing in the snow wearing nothing but shorts and a T-shirt with the 5’7” cheetah bundled in a parka.
Sam’s rising star collided with other wishes when it was announced in October 2012 that Mormon women could begin serving missions at age 19 instead of 21. Darius had left on his (to Russia) that summer, with Sam promising to wait for him to return. With the age change, though, she faced a choice; after careful deliberation, she announced that she would be taking 18 months off from college and basketball to complete her missionary assignment, in Taiwan. When she departed in January 2013, the effect on the team was notable, and fans eagerly awaited her return amid fears that she had doomed her career.
She returned in summer 2014 and immediately immersed herself in basketball. The fans’ worried that her first few starts, in which she appeared rusty and succumbed to common aquatic mistakes, confirmed their fears, but as the season went on Sam’s recovery accelerated. Indeed, commentators started to observe that it seemed the mission had strengthened her self-discipline, enabling her to buckle down to the hard work of polishing performance instead of relying on natural talent and instinct.
Late in 2014, she announced that she would be entering her name into the FBA draft that year. “While I am doing well at the college level,” she said in the news release, “I have the talent to excel in the big leagues and want to use it the best I can. And trust me, I can!” Her disarming smile and pose spoofing Rosie the Riveter made it into every Utah newspaper sports section the next day.
In the midst of her meteoric rise, Sam proposed to Darius on New Year's Day in 2015. At the moment, it appears that Darius will stay in Utah to run for JSU and continue his studies while his future wife pursues the FBA. For the moment, they are enjoying their first few months of their engagement, shuttling between class, the gym, and their nondescript apartments with poor heating.
From a family that produced a plurality of Utah’s state swimming champions, a nationally-renowned TV fishing personality, a revolutionary aquacultural scientist, and five whitewater rafting tour guide companies, Sam Canuteson had an affinity for non-aquatic activities that was as unusual as it was consistent. From a young age (and despite her family’s water polo games and regular trips to the lake) she gravitated toward land sports. Beginning by dominating peewee football, with the typical orca growth spurt of height and bulk she became a hot commodity on the basketball court. The nickname her friends gave her told the whole story: Holokai the Second (or sometimes “Mormokai”). By this time, the elder orca—the first in the FBA—had become a fixture in the league, and fewer people were having trouble picturing fins alongside paws on the hardwood.
Sam’s first brush with celebrity, albeit local, came after she led her congregation’s basketball team to victory as a young teenager—so-called “church ball” in northern Utah was still a cultural institution, and wins were pursued with a ferocity unbefitting the typical middle-aged men and lanky teenagers that came out to play. The ferocity was not unbefitting of the already 7-foot orca among them. In her high school years, she became the first female to don football pads for her high school, trading them out for jersey and shorts as the winter rolled around and picking up discus and shot put in the spring.
Unrelenting in her training, she grew used to being the star athlete and, indeed, found that she enjoyed being in the spotlight when it turned toward her. However, she came to see herself as the proverbial city on a hill: her position of visibility obliged exemplary behavior. Her church’s youth magazine even made her the cover story in her junior year of high school.
When it came time to decide on college, she knew that she wanted to attend Joseph Smith University; that she came to join the basketball team instead of football or track was a result of the scholarship they extended to her.
And they were not disappointed.
Sam is seldom acquainted with stress. An extrovert, she finds social situations easy to navigate and is willing to engage in friendly competition; however, she has the strength of will and the confidence to put an end to any activity that threatens to go amiss. In spite of this social facility, she sometimes finds it hard to relate to those who are less in tune.
2015 - 2016 Regular Season Stats
2016 - 2017 Regular Season Stats