FAIRBANKSP- Last year we profiled for West Valley basketball player Lawjen Ashmore. She is hard of hearing but was a vital part of the West Valley basketball program.
Ashmore is training at the UAF SRC with former West Valley teammate Hannah Mattson and former West Valley head coach Steve Caciari because in a couple of weeks she will be playing for Team USA U21in the World Deaf Championships in Samsun, Turkey.
It'll be the first time she will play competitively in over a year. Ashmore redshirted at Gallaudet University, a deaf school in Washington, D.C., after suffering a MCL injury. She says It's been a learning experience for her.
"I learned a lot sitting out. It's not the best feeling but I learned a lot. I saw how my teammates communicate. It's different. It's not like when I went to West Valley,"
Ashmore said. "It's not. It's different. So I can understand better a lot of new things that I didn't know."
Caciari is impressed that his former guard was able to have a chance to play overseas even though she didn't play a single minute for the Bison.
"It just shows the kind of impact she had before her injury that fact that she was able to get recommended by her college coach to go on this prestigious under 21 deaf team so you know they think highly of her," Caciari said.
He is prepping Ashmore with various drills that will bring out her natural talent as a guard and knock off as much rust as possible.
"They want her to use her point guard skills and her offensive skills such as being able to get the basket, creating for her self and to create for others."
Mattson, the 2012 Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year, is coming off a freshman season with 13 starts at the Division I University of Portland program. She is happy for Ashmore's opportunity and to train with her before she leaves.
"She's a really physical player. She's not afraid to get in there to get rough and get dirty and that kind of thing. That's helpful for both of us because that's the way it's going overseas, that's how it's going to be for me as well," Mattson said. "It's good to have someone that's going to get out there and get physical with you and work hard on the court."
Ashmore says communication will be the top priority as she steps on the court for the first time for a deaf team overseas in two and a half weeks. The World Deaf Championships will be a two week trip with training sessions and a tournament. The competition in Turkey starts on July 4 and features countries from Russia, Germany, Lithuania and Mexico.