Sutherland's Added Strength Part Of Overall Growth

Oct. 21, 2010

Andrea Hudy is expecting big things from Kansas women’s basketball junior forward Aishah Sutherland this season. Hudy, the Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Performance, is entering her seventh season at KU and works with both the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Hudy, who believes Sutherland improved and matured a lot over the summer, both on and off the court, believes Sutherland’s greatest improvement actually came in the weight room.

“Aishah is a very talented athlete who excels in whatever she does,” said Hudy, who has worked with nine NCAA Championship teams in her career. “She has worked really hard this summer. I think that she has grown a lot this past year in terms of realizing what it takes to be a better athlete in the Big 12 and a better basketball player. She can hang power clean 210 pounds, has a 28-inch vertical jump and bench presses 135 pounds. However, I think the area where Aishah has grown the most is in her maturity.”

Hudy is encouraged by Sutherland’s improvement in the weight room, but also Sutherland’s focus to push her team’s goal of a Big 12 championship and NCAA tournament run this year.

“Aishah has been working hard to push herself and her team to fulfill the team’s goals this year,” said Hudy. “I think Aishah has matured and accepted the fact that she is responsible to not only herself but to Kansas Basketball, Kansas Athletics, the University of Kansas and the entire Lawrence community. She has realized that it is bigger than her at this point and that is where she has grown the most.”

It is obvious from Sutherland’s performance at the 2010 Late Night In The Phog and her physique that she has been working hard over the summer. The Perris, Calif. native is not shy about attributing her improved muscle tone to Hudy.

“When I first got here Angel (Goodrich) and I could only lift the bar,” said Sutherland, who averaged 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore. “Hudy is always there for us and is pushing us to get stronger and work harder on the court every day.”

Sutherland says that her approach to the weight room has also changed this year and that fact has also contributed to her overall improvement.

“I come into the weight room everyday thinking positive,” said Sutherland. “I come in knowing no matter how heavy the weight is, I am going to be able to lift it.”

Sutherland has seen some success as a member of the KU women’s program so far, but admits that her lack of consistency has at times held her back. She posted double figures in scoring in 10 of her first 11 games in her second season at KU, but only scored 10 or more points in two games the rest of the 2009-10 season.

“I know that last year I had a problem being consistent,” said Sutherland. “I want to be consistent throughout the season this year. I want to finish around the rim, go up stronger to the rim and do all the little things that are important to my team’s success.”

Last season the Jayhawks suffered setbacks through injuries and losses, but the team never lost its focus on getting to postseason play. Sutherland thinks this year’s edition of the Kansas Women’s Basketball team will benefit from all of the strength the team gained in battling adversity a year ago.

“We are a great team and we learned how to stay together through the up and downs of the season,” said Sutherland. “We have our sights set on our goals and we are going to do everything we can to achieve them all this year.”

Sutherland understands the importance of consistency and also has a new motto this year that she is living by.

“My motto this year is, ‘talent is never enough,'” said Sutherland. “I understand that I am very athletic, but I know that I can not just rely on my athleticism to help me this year. All of the work I put in this summer in the weight room and just gaining a better overall maturity level will hopefully pay off as the season goes along.”