Asbury Preparing For Starting Role

Brian Asbury barely averaged two points a game last season as a freshman, but he may very well be the most important piece to the University of Miami men's basketball team puzzle when all is said and done.

Sophomore shooting guard/small forward Brian Asbury brings an element that Miami hasn't enjoyed since Johnny Hemsley was playing on the wing. At 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Asbury is a tall and lanky wing that Miami has struggled to produce since Hemsley. It's also the type of player that has given the ‘Canes fits over the years because they simply have rarely been able to match up against a player with that type of athleticism, shooting ability, ball handling ability and length.

Asbury knows that he must bring it to the floor this season. Haith has put the onus on him calling him and Jimmy Graham the two most important players to the 2006-2007 basketball team. Not in terms of stats, but more so in terms of improvement.

For Asbury, all he can do is improve after having a freshman year that he'd like to forget considering the fact he grew up literally five minutes and no more than ten blocks away from the Coral Gables campus and attending South Miami High School where he led the Cobras to Class 6A state championship game as a junior and a Regional Final as a senior.

It's been a summer full of work for Asbury who was very successful in the Pharmed League and seen improvement in his shot and ball handling skills.

"I improved my shooting this summer a lot," Asbury said. "That was one of the biggest things I felt I had to work on over the summer. Also, my ball handling and grabbing rebounds and pushing the ball up the court."

The biggest difference he's felt is that he is no longer thinking the way he was last year.

"I felt I was thinking too much, thinking I should be in one spot when I should be somewhere else. I wasn't playing my game," Asbury said. "I feel real comfortable right now because I am just playing my game. I know the offense now so I can go out and play my game."

As important as Asbury's personal success being integral in the team's success, it goes way deeper than just him.

"Everybody's got to contribute," Asbury said. "Everyone this year will be able to showcase their talent to help us win more games. I feel like this team has a lot of good talent."

Talent enough to win 25 games as he said earlier this summer.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at rudy@canestime.com

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