College basketball: Miquelle Askew quickly adjusts to the college game
It was the first summer workout of her college career. Miquelle Askew looked at the Boise State strength coach then around the room. This, she knew, was going to be nothing like high-school basketball.
Yet near the end of her freshman season with the Broncos' women's basketball team, the former Skyline star has found herself more than capable of making the transition to big-time college athletics.
"At first, it was a really big change," Askew said. "The mentality is different, and it's a lot faster. They expect you to be stronger and all those things."
After a summer of conditioning and building her strength to match the physicality of the college game, Askew was unsure what her role on the team would be this season. But a rash of injuries have forced her into substantial playing time.
The 6-foot-3 freshman forward entered the week averaging 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in nearly 16 minutes per game.
"She's been even better than we expected," Broncos coach Gordy Presnell said. "She has a very good mental framework for the game. She understands things, she asks questions."
There have been times she's looked like a freshman, struggling to keep pace with the game. But more frequently, she's played like a veteran who understands her role, such as when she scored 18 in a loss against San Diego State.
"She doesn't make mental mistakes, so she's already got a good base to start reaching what she can become," Presnell said. "She's a student of the game."
Though it's been a challenging adjustment, Askew has found the atmosphere of the college game to her liking. Basketball has been her life, she explained, and it's refreshing to be surrounded by teammates with similar passion for the game.
Gone are the players looking only for a post-school activity, replaced by teammates eager to work as hard as she is.
"All my teammates want to play basketball," Askew said. "In high school, you get a couple people who are just there for a fun workout, you know? But in college, everyone wants to just play basketball. It's a lot easier."
As good as Askew has been, Presnell expects more. He's seen the flashes of elite ability. Not many players with her length can score the way she does, Presnell said, and her understanding of the game is rare in a player so young.
"We've been really pleased with her development," Presnell said. "We're also pleased with her potential. Her ceiling is a long ways up there. I think she can be an all-league player in the Mountain West."
Aksew understands reaching that potential won't be easy. She needs to continue to get stronger and build diversity in her offensive game, mainly adding a midrange jumper from the elbow of the court.
But she welcomes the challenge.
"I just want to live up to the expectations," Askew said. "I want to be the best."