January 29, 2016

Asia Durr works to stay away from passive play

Photo by Wade Morgen/ The Louisville Cardinal

By Sam Draut–

“Passive” isn’t usually a word used to describe the playing style of the nation’s top-rated high school player or one of the top freshmen in the ACC.

In Asia Durr’s case, it is — but not for much longer.

The 5-foot-10 freshman’s humble demeanor can sometimes be too modest.

There have been times when coach Jeff Walz has implored Durr to shoot more, even to the point that he has made her teammates run because she isn’t shooting enough.

Walz’s tactics might seem unusual, but the end result isn’t.

In eight ACC games, Durr has made 15 three-pointers and shot 44.1 percent from behind the arc.

Beyond her perimeter ability, Durr is shooting 50 percent on two-point field goal attempts and 85 percent from the free-throw line.

“I’m asking her to look to score more,” Walz said. “Instead of being someone who looks to pass, I want her to attack the basket, look for pull up jump shots, look for threes.”

Knowing Durr’s scoring potential and seeing her commitment to the game of basketball, Walz wants Durr to be more aggressive on the offensive end.

In his nine years at Louisville, Walz has had some freshmen who were hesitant to take shots, but he doesn’t want Durr to have those similar concerns because of the amount of time she spends developing her skills.

“She works so hard on her shot, on her game. She needs to get more aggressive,” Walz said. “She needs to attack the basket. She has to look to get shots.”

The first few months didn’t begin as smoothly as the McDonald’s All-American wanted.

Durr suffered a groin injury in the spring and was forced to fight through rehab after having surgery in the offseason.

At a point in December, Durr was considered to be a medical-redshirt candidate, but she continued to play through the pain.

As Durr has worked to become healthier, it took time for her on-court progress to become consistent because she didn’t play live basketball during the summer months.

Still dealing with the groin injury and re-adjusting to live play, it took Durr some time to set in to playing again, but once the ACC portion of Louisville’s schedule started, the freshman got going.

She was named the ACC Rookie of the Week and USBWA Freshman of the Week on Jan. 19 after averaging 15.5 points over a three-game span against Duke, Virginia and NC State.

“I feel more comfortable being out there. I think that came from me playing, trying to snap out of it,” Durr said. “Trying to not think about so much, just shooting, and I got into the gym and constantly put up a whole lot of shots.”

Despite the recent collegiate success and decorated prep career, Walz continues to push Durr to shoot more. He wants Durr to have a mindset of making more shots.

“Instead of getting four a game, let’s try to get eight,” Walz said.

For a player who averaged 33.3 points her senior year of high school, Durr played semi-passively as she became the top-rated high school prospect in the country.

“Growing up, I played passive,” Durr said.

The versatility Durr provides helps to sure up the Cardinal backcourt. In high school, she primarily played the point guard position, but at Louisville, she has split time at both the point guard and two-guard spot.

Because the point and the two have few differences in Walz’s half-court offense, being able to play both positions is a necessity.

Whether she is playing point guard or the off-ball guard spot, Durr has a primary focus.

“When I’m playing, I look to score at all times,” Durr said. “That’s my goal.”

But, she isn’t only taking shots, Durr is sixth on the team with 30 assists in 18 games.

Even with a scoring prowess, Durr said she enjoys making plays for her teammates.

To avoid becoming a passive scorer again, Durr believes it’s all about clearing her mind and having fun.

“I love this game so much, the only thing to that is going out there any playing,” Durr said.

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