At 6 feet 3 with All-Metro skills, junior Asya Bussie is the centerpiece of the No. 1 Seton Keough girls basketball team. Averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, Bussie has a strong post game, rarely gets into foul trouble and is steadily increasing the range of her jump shot. She grew up battling for rebounds with her brothers Gerald, now 21 and a Milford Mill graduate, and Landon, 20 and a Woodlawn graduate - both 6-6. With a 3.2 grade point average, Bussie, 16, is considering a career as a dentist, but she said her interests can change quickly. However, she's not likely to change her mind about wanting to go to a big basketball school. That shouldn't be a problem with the number of college coaches she draws to Gators games.
Were you always tall for your age?
No. Actually, I started growing in third grade. I used to cheerlead for my brothers, but I started to grow and my mother was like, "We need to get her into basketball now." So, I started working out with my brothers and I got a little better.
Did you follow your brothers into basketball?
Yeah, I definitely followed them. They played in the Old Court recreation league and then they went on to high school and ever since then, I followed their path.
How old were you when you started playing basketball?
Eight years old. I started playing for Campfield, then the Wildcats, then the Hurricanes and then the Maryland Magic [Amateur Athletic Union team].
When did basketball become your passion?
I would say about seventh grade. That's when I really started to get into it. My brothers started making me go to the gym and get better because they knew I had potential.
What do you love about basketball?
I love everything about it. It has so many benefits like friendships, scholarships, keeping you off the streets; everything, dealing with the ups and downs, the emotions. It's just great.
Why did you come to Seton Keough?
I never thought I would be going to a Catholic school, but I guess that's what my mother wanted me to do. She really didn't want me to go to public school, so my choices were McDonogh, Seton Keough or Towson Catholic. I really connected with Coach Jackie [Boswell]. She's like a second mom. I can talk to her about anything. What's the key to your team's success this year?
The only thing I can say is teamwork and chemistry. We just bond. Like friendships, we just connect.
Is there a lot of pressure being No. 1?
People try to make it pressure, but we have to stay focused and we can't take it for granted. We have to play our game, and if we end up No. 1, then that's how it is. We just want to play our best.
Do you look forward to playing other good post players, such as Kandice Green (St. Frances) and Simone Egwu (Arundel)?
I like a challenge. I love the big games. I guess I'm so used to people who are smaller than me that when I get to someone who's dominant or bigger or my size, I'm just ready to prove myself and play big.
Do you have a role model?
My brothers are not my role models, but I look up to them. They expect a lot and they want a lot from me. They drive me hard. They think I'm a boy (laughs).
Has that helped you?
It has with going up strong. When we're working out, they'll foul me really hard and I go up strong and do stuff over and over and over again.
Do you watch a lot of sports on TV?
I like football, and I watch some women's college games.
Do you have a favorite for the Super Bowl?
No. I like the Ravens, but they did really bad.