Top-rated recruit Asia Durr ready to go to work

By on November 12, 2015

By Sam Draut–

From the moment Asia Durr announced her commitment to Head Coach Jeff Walz and the Louisville basketball team, there has been a collective buzz that comes with the pledge and eventual arrival of the nation’s top-rated player.

Asia Durr may be the only person who has yet to buy into all the hype surrounding her.

“She handles it well because she works. When you’re willing to do the work to get where you are, your teammates are going to respect that,” Walz said. “And anyone who follows basketball knows she has gotten to where she is because of the time she has spent.”

With the ability to work so hard, Durr said she doesn’t feel any pressure to perform because she knows her game will take care of itself.

“Nothing is going to be handed to me, and I know that for a fact,” Durr said. “So I just go out there and work hard knowing if I do that will carry me over to the game.”

Blessed with plenty of athleticism and skill, Durr keeps improving due to the diligence and dedication that led her to being rated the top basketball player on a multitude of recruiting sites.

“It’s not that she is jumping over everybody and is just an unbelievable athlete. It’s her skill set that separates her. She has ability to handle the ball, to create her own shots,” Walz said. “But a lot of that comes from the hours she has spent in the gym, and that is something she continues to do.”

After averaging 33.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in her senior year of high school, the 5-foot-10 guard joins a Louisville team with a wide open back court.

Although it seemed like Durr could be penciled into the starting lineup for the season opener against Cal on Nov. 15, the Douglasville, Georgia native suffered a groin injury in the spring and has been slow to fully recover.

Walz had anticipated that Durr would be fully ready by mid-September, but some lingering discomfort has left the coaching staff monitoring the injury.

On Oct. 27, Walz met with the media and updated the progress on his highly touted freshman.

“Asia Durr is back 70 to 75 percent, and she has made some good improvements over the last two weeks,” Walz said. “She is practicing every day, but her explosiveness is not quite there throughout the entire practice.”

Six months of care and rehab can be frustrating at times, but similar to the way she approaches the game of basketball, Durr has worked hard to get back to where she wants to be.

“The rehab process has been tough. Every day I’m getting treatment or doing some type of rehab.  I have to stay patient, but I’m almost there,” Durr said.  “The trainer has been doing a good job with that making sure I don’t do too much or trying to do something too soon.”

Durr hasn’t competed in live game situations since May with USA basketball, so Walz has tempered his anticipation for her while she continues through rehab.

“She is still getting her legs back. She’s getting her shot back,” Walz said. “So I’m not putting any expectations on her on what to expect from scoring, but there is no doubt she will have a significant impact on the game.”

Even though Durr is fighting to get back to 100 percent, Walz understands how valuable her skill will be for a team that returns only 34 percent of its minutes from a season ago.

“Her ball handling skills are as good as any that I’ve been able to coach in my nineteen years of coaching,” Walz said. “She sees the floor. She passes the ball, sees the next pass. She understands that if she can’t deliver it to the person who is open, she will get it to the player who can. She has an instinct for the game. Her instincts are off the chart.”

Along with seven other newcomers, Durr believes the physicality of the college game will be the biggest adjustment for her while her teammates have had to adjust to her hard working mentality.

“Her teammates are not going to question whether she deserves to get this shot or playing time. She just is going to outwork 90 percent of the people, and it’s contagious with her teammates because they are in the gym also,” Walz said. “They all work or they wouldn’t be here, but it’s a matter of some of them saying they can get a little better.  And I think that is what Asia brings to the club.”

All the publicity and hype can surround the nation’s top freshman, but none of it will disrupt Durr from her hard work and enjoyment of her first year at the University of Louisville.

“I’m just having so much fun being with my teammates and being around the coaches,” Durr said. “I just can’t wait to get out there and play in front of the fans.”

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