During the current home stand, the ‘Canes have had to deal with the loss of center Anthony King, who normally would provide a huge rebounding and defensive presence. Miami is 1-1 with King out of the lineup, and several players are attempting to take their games up a notch to compensate for the void left by King.
Sophomore forward Brian Asbury is one of these players.
"It [losing King] affects us a lot because we're losing a lot of rebounding and defensive play."
When asked how they could make up for his loss, he put a lot of the responsibility on his shoulders but also acknowledged that it was a team effort.
"We have to make up for it. Everyone has to rebound, including the guards, and the big men just have to step it up another notch. I have to help the big guys a little more, even more than what I'm doing right now."
He credited some of his teammates, like forwards Jimmy Graham and Dwayne Collins, for being able to fill the void.
"Filling in for King is a real tough spot because King brought a lot of intensity and defensive rebounding but I believe Jimmy is coming around and getting better, and Dwayne is getting better too. The more playing time he gets, the more he can show what he can do."
Asbury also mentioned that Coach Haith had challenged him to step up his game by comparing his game to a former Miami star.
"Coach was telling me what Rob Hite did last year. Even though he was 6'2", he got like 6 rebounds a game, and I'm a lot taller so he felt like I should be rebounding even more and getting more than 6 rebounds."
The consensus is that Asbury has improved tremendously since last year, something even Brian himself acknowledges. When asked what he could attribute his development towards, he explained:
"The difference is I'm getting a lot more playing time and that's letting me just go out there and play my game and show what I can do. It [development] just comes with playing time and getting confidence."
He went on to elaborate on last year and how a lack of mental readiness was a hurdle he needed to get over.
"I think that came from always thinking too much and going out there and worrying about the plays instead of just going out there and playing my game. [Now] I understand everything. Last year was like a learning point and this year I had to put it all together."
Asbury credited rising star Jack McClinton for helping Asbury put it all together:
"He helped my game a lot. I work hard no matter what and no one has to push me but Jack helped me take it to another level because we talk about basketball all the time. We know no one is going to just give it to us so we have to go out and get it. Going to work out when nobody wants to do it, we'll just call up some of the coaches and just go into the gym and work together."
Asbury continued by stressing the importance of this home stand and winning at home.
"It's good to get wins at home, so when it comes time for the NCAA tournament selection, they can look back at our home wins and put that together."
Asbury has been averaging 12.3 points and 6.1 rebounds a game this year for the ‘Canes.
Asbury Stepping Up in Sophomore Season
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