Longhorns spotlight: Ashley Gayle
Jan. 23, 2009
Janice Lu, Texas Media Relations
Freshman Ashley Gayle understands what is expected from her as a post. That's why the Las Vegas native is thankful to have two upperclassmen to learn her position from.
"It definitely helps to have the rest of our posts being upperclassmen because they've already been through everything before," Gayle said. "For example, I try to really look at what Ashley Lindsey does and try to imitate her. I really look up to the rest of the older posts."
As a member of Coach Goestenkors' first recruiting class at Texas, Gayle knows that she and her fellow freshmen are sometimes thought of as the foundation of the Coach G coaching era. Though still young, Gayle has already been counted on to contribute minutes.
"Coming in as a freshman is hard, but after you play a few games, you get to the point where coach doesn't really look at you as a freshman," Gayle said. "She expects you to basically be able to handle whatever is thrown at you. Coach G really saw something in the three of us and really believed that we could come and contribute right off the bat. I think it's a lot of pressure, but all three of us like the pressure and like to be able to get a lot of playing time. "
So far, Gayle has seen action in 16 of the Longhorns' 17 games, averaging 14.7 minutes and 4.4 points per game. But those numbers do not do justice to Gayle's contribution. Primarily recruited for her skills on defense, Gayle is second on the team in blocks with 37, four less than her mentor Lindsey.
Yet Gayle knows that as her career continues, she will have to keep improving on all parts of her game.
"I know that I need to learn to be more patient on offense because I came in being recruited as mostly defense. I definitely had to step up my offensive game in the pre-season," Gayle recalled. "Ash and Aubry (Cook) have been really helping me in focusing on getting low and having counter moves and being more aggressive."
In particular, Gayle has taken every game as an opportunity to continue to develop into the post player she hopes to be.
"Going against teams like Old Dominion, Ole Miss and Tennessee, who have bigger posts, has been really helpful. Being from Vegas, there wasn't a lot of competition in the post position, the only place I really saw people my size or bigger would be during the summer, so now going constantly against people that are bigger, faster, stronger than you really has taught me to adjust game to game," Gayle said.
Learning this lesson has not only pleased Gayle but also her coaches.
"Coach G really wanted me to focus on not waiting until next year to bloom," Gayle said. "She really wants me to be able to go hard and push 100% everyday so I can improve everyday instead of just waiting next year to come around."
And as the season continues and conference play is underway, Ashley Gayle has come a far way from when she first arrived.