The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

April 5, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN- Bussie set to make up for lost time

MORGANTOWN — This was going to be Asya Bussie’s year. She was a senior, about to emerge as a star on a young West Virginia University women’s basketball team that seemed just ready to blossom as it moved into the Big 12.

Much of what coach Mike Carey planned during the off-season was built around her abilities to score, to rebound and to lead.

Then her knee blew out.

“It was really devastating from the beginning, being the second day of practice and working so hard during the summer thinking that I would lead the team. It was a big shock to me and I think the team and the coaches,” she recalled the other day, the Mountaineers season having ended prematurely in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Knee injuries have become a staple of West Virginia basketball. Women athletes more than men seem vulnerable, and those wearing the Flying WV for whatever reason are more vulnerable yet, but Bussie had no reason to expect this to happen.

Two days into practice there was a rebound. She went up with it against a practice player.

“Neither of us got it and it bounced on the floor. I went to grab it, and another practice player came up and dove for the ball and knocked me on the ground,” she recalled.

It wasn’t an instantaneous thing, not coming from the hit more from rolling over onto the leg when they went down.

There was pain as she lay there, but wasn’t sure what the problem was.

“I was in denial. I thought the pain would go away but it just got worse,” she said.

Knees are like that. You see it with athletes all the time, they go to the bench, they ice it, they may even leave on crutches, but they aren’t yet writing their season off.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘OK, I’ll be out six weeks,’” she said. “Then Coach Carey called me to the side and told that being really realistic it was not going to be six weeks; that I’d be out for the whole year.

Think for a moment of hearing that as you are about to begin you senior year. The first thing you do is go into denial, then acceptance mode.

“Finally, I just thought that maybe this was a blessing in disguise, that I wasn’t ready to play this season. It let me go for my master’s, work on my master’s. I thought everything happens for a reason, and next year might be better.”

Right … rehab is a walk in the park.

Not!

“Rehab is hard,” she said. “They try to change up the exercises so you don’t get bored doing the same thing. They’re nice and try to keep us motivated … but it’s getting boring now. I’m getting ready to start playing.”

It has been a long year, a hard one for someone who is accustomed to being on the court, not sitting alongside it. She had to change her entire approach.

“I tried to just watch the game and learn the game more, see the things I could change with my game,” she said.

Like what?

“I learned to be more vocal. I could see the team needs someone to lead them, not just on the court but mentally and talking to

them,” she said, vowing that will be her role a year from now.

“I feel like I have a lot on my plate now. I have to prove to myself, to my team, to the fans. I have to take on a big responsibility and lead this team,” she said.

Leading, she agrees, may be even more important than producing, although no one can deny that tin 2011-12, when the Mountaineers went 24-10, she was the leading scorer with 12.1 points a game while averaging 6.6 rebounds a game.

“I think there needs to be a middle person between the players and coaches, someone there to help talk and motivate and put everyone on the same page,” she said.

And that is what she is aiming to become, expecting by June to be back to 100 percent and ready to play as she never has before during her final season.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads