We continue our brief profiles of each member of the 2010-11 Creighton men’s basketball team. Join us each weekday from now until the men’s exhibition game against Northern State for an introduction to this year’s Bluejays, from freshmen to seniors.
Another season, another change for Darryl Ashford.
Ashford starts his second season at Creighton for his second head coach. It isn’t anything new for the combo guard from Texas. He was originally recruited by Bobby Knight to play at Texas Tech, spent a year at prep school, and took the junior college route before getting to Creighton and playing a season under Dana Altman. He begins his last season at CU under new coach in Greg McDermott.
Fortunately for Ashford he has rolled with the punches and has adapted to his environment in yet another year of change. “Everything is different. It is a new start, a new everything,” Ashford told WBR. “I’m ready to go and excited about the challenges.”
Last season, Ashford was thrown into the fire right away. After injuries to Justin Carter and Casey Harriman, he was thrust into the starting lineup to open the regular season at Dayton. He responded by scoring 13 points in 26 minutes and going 5-of-8 from the field. Ashford scored 17 points in 28 minutes in his second game against Florida A&M. After a quiet game against Arkansas-Little Rock, he rebounded for 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting against Michigan in the Old Spice Classic. He was well on his way to being a consistent contributor to the team.
Heading into the Christmas break and the early part of January, Ashford hit a wall. His point production and minutes on the court started going down. He rebounded through mid-January and looked like he was on his way out of his slump to help carry the Bluejays through the rest of the season. He scored in double figures during four of the team’s five games and was grabbing some rebounds.
Right before the Drake game on January 30, Ashford received news of a death in the family and left the team for a few days. Upon his return, he did not seem like the same player the rest of the season and scored in double figures only once in the final 12 games.
Going into this season with McDermott at the helm, change has brought about a more confident attitude for Ashford. “It is a totally different style. It’s a different environment. It is a good thing,” he said.
During a preseason workout called “boot camp,” there were stories amongst the media that players were puking because they were putting in so much effort. When pressed for more details, Ashford said he wasn’t one of those guys. “No,” he said laughing, “A couple of times I wanted to, but I held it in.”
Ashford is putting in the effort in part because there is a clean slate and a new opportunity. There were flashes of it during the scrimmage at Bluejay Madness and you can tell in his voice that he is determined to finish his career at Creighton strong.
“I see my role being a big part of this season. I’m a senior this year. Last year I was new and I didn’t know what to expect. This year is different. I know what I have to do every night. I have to come out and play hard, carry myself better, and know what it takes to win.”