As the only senior in Douglass High’s starting lineup, Martez Asberry is like having another coach on the basketball court. His leadership is the biggest reason the Hurricanes have been a force this season in the Detroit Public School League.
“He’s probably done more for us than any kid I’ve had here at Frederick Douglass,’’ head coach Nkwane Young said of Asberry, the PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
“We start four sophomores and, as the only senior, he’s playing under control and trusting his teammates. For us to win, I tell him ‘it starts with you.’ The thing I respect most about him is the way he dictates our game by staying within the team concept.”
Asberry, who averages 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists a game, is primarily the Hurricanes’ 6-2 point guard. But “he can play the one through the five,’’ Young said. Or as Asberry says about his role, “I can do everything my team needs me to do.”
Entering Friday’s Big D quarterfinals game against top-seeded, unbeaten Pershing, Asberry was optimistic about the Hurricanes chances of pulling off the upset. In an early-season home game, they played the Doughboys tough before losing a thriller and have been formidable opponent all winter for the league’s top tier teams.
“In the beginning of the season our inexperience was hurting us because a lot of guys were playing for the first time,’’ said Asberry, a three-year varsity starter. “In the second half of the season, I feel we’ve really turned it around and have been playing well.”
Boosted by a 3.4 grade point average last card marking, Asberry has attracted interest from college recruiters. They like his ability to shoot, handle the ball and penetrate and also his toughness as a defender. He’s still deciding where he’ll compete in college, and plans to major in sports management with an eye on a career as a sports agent.
As with any talented player, Asberry dreams of competing in the NBA. “Kobe Bryant is my favorite player,” he said. “When I watch him play, it motivates me to play like him. I try to do what he does.”
Whatever his future holds, Asberry realizes the key to continued success will be hard work.
“It’s been a fun ride playing here at Douglass,’’ he said. “I played with a lot of bigs my sophomore year and I didn’t think I would play that much. But I kept working and working and I outworked everybody. I had a good sophomore year and a good junior year and I’m still working hard. With this being my senior year, I’m looking to finish strong.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week Award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletic performers and is sponsored by local Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators