Strong’s style prepares her for the next level

Senior Asia Strong looks ahead during the game against Tulsa at Charles Koch Arena on Feb. 6. (Lena Ahallaq/ The Sunflower)

Growing up in South Bend, Indiana, Asia Strong never imagined she would go to college, let alone in Wichita.

Strong was raised by her mother Glendetta Jones and three brothers — Keenan, Thomas and Gabriel. Before she could walk, Strong developed a passion and love for basketball.

She starts each day the same way — praying and meditating, practicing and listening to motivational podcasts.

When Strong started high school, she joined the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to further her knowledge and experience playing basketball.

“Shoutout to my AAU coach Toi Baylor,” Strong said. “She’s the reason why I am here now, so she just inspired me to be the best player and the best version of myself on and off the court.”

In 2018, Strong began her collegiate journey attending Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where she played basketball for two seasons.

In 2020, after being offered a full ride scholarship, Strong turned in her Braves No. 12 jersey for a Shocker double zero jersey. Not only is Strong the first member of her family to attend college, but she is the first to receive a full-ride scholarship.

“I feel like basketball is my life,” Strong said. “That’s all I’ve known, so if it wasn’t for basketball I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t know who I was as a person or player, so the basketball aspect has given me the confidence and responsibilities. Just to physically be prepared for basketball. I know for my future I have a lot of opportunities just because of basketball and the game that I love.”

On Nov. 4, Strong was on the starting lineup for her first exhibition game of the season against Southern Missouri State. Making her appearance, Strong was seen wearing two different colored shoes — one black and one yellow.

As the Shockers continued their non-conference season on a hot streak, more players were inspired by Strong’s style. The majority of the team was seen wearing mismatched shoes. 

“I like to be different on the court,” Strong said. “Some people have got their own style where they got the arm sleeve and the one leg sleeve. I like to make my style the two different shoes, or two different socks.

“You look good, you play good, so just feeling like I look good gives me confidence and makes me want to play better. Just because I’m out here swagging it.”

 Set to graduate in May of 2022 with her bachelor’s degree in sports management, Strong is preparing to play professional basketball. She will either join the WNBA draft this year or play ball overseas and will continue her style of mismatched shoes.

Strong hopes to follow her biggest inspirations A’ja Wilson — forward for the Las Vegas Acers — and Kevin Durant — power forward for the Brooklyn Nets.

“I like to watch them a lot and compare my game to theirs so I can be the best player I can be,” Strong said. 

After playing professional basketball, Strong wants to begin a coaching career with her cousin, T.J., in AAU. 

“I want to coach seventh grade or eighth grade boys and girls,” Strong said. “I want to start my own ‘Strong’ elite brand and just build from that. Building a foundation where I can help the youth because as a young player I had people who was helping me.”

Kids look up to Strong — especially in Indiana. She wants to show these young athletes if they continue grinding, practicing, putting up reps and building their own style they have the opportunity to gain a scholarship and potentially go pro.

“I don’t even know all of them, but I hear about them all the time. I don’t know them personally, but I still am that role model for them.”