In a video that has gotten 111 ‘likes’ on Douglas junior Abigail Hsu’s Twitter account @abigailvhsu, Hsu jumps off one leg and grabs the front of a standard 10-foot rim.
That feat would be impressive enough for any girls high school player 6-3 or taller.
Hsu stands at only 5-11, but she has the freakish athleticism D-1 programs are drooling over even more since she posted that video from a shoot-around in September.
“I was feeling kind of bouncy with a lot of energy that day,” Hsu said. “I said I’m just going to try and grab it and I got my friend to get the video camera out. So I got it on tape now. Grabbing rim has been a goal since my freshman year. Obviously dunking is my next goal.”
A year after being selected to the Miami Herald’s All-Broward first team, Hsu is a highlight reel waiting to happen and also a leading contender for Broward Player of the Year.
Last season, Hsu was content to share the leading role with Halie Murphy, and Hsu averaged 15 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, six steals and 1.8 blocks. She helped lead Douglas to a school best 26-3 record and first berth in the Regional Finals.
While Hsu showed flashes last season, Douglas coach Marilyn Rule believes the more assertive mindset Hsu adopted during a standout travel ball season bodes well for her taking over more consistently in late game situations.
“There are times Abigail didn’t shoot the ball enough last season,” Rule said. “This year we have been focusing and talking about, when it is crunch time it’s time to take over and that is what the great ones do. That is an area that looking back, I can take over. It’s my time. Let’s go to work. But Abbey is so good in setting up her teammates for shots, that it makes her so hard to guard.”
Rule said Hsu’s rise to elite status has been the product of a relentless work ethic. Hsu, the youngest of seven siblings, is the consummate “gym rat,” using any free time to work on her skills. Rule said Hsu’s nonstop drive to improve has set the tone for her teammates.
“Abbey is one of those kids that come along, if you are lucky, as a coach every once in your career,” Rule said. “She has an amazing, unstoppable motor. She just wants to keep going. There are times I have to tell her, ‘Hey next made shot, we are done, we have to cut if off. I have a family and things to take care of.’ No seriously, she is really driven. That is not a common trait you see these days.”
Despite the transfer of Murphy to St. Thomas Aquinas, Rule believes the Eagles have enough firepower in Hsu, Nathalia Balderamma, Taylor Thompson, Asa Dykes and Kelsey Ngo and an underrated bench to make another run at defending 9A state champions Boca Raton, which the Eagles lost to in the Regional Finals last season.
Before that can happen, the Eagles will have to get past District 11-9A arch rival Deerfield Beach, which has revenge on its mind. This series is as physical and intense as any in Broward and Hsu’s versatility could be the difference.
Hsu’s height and length gives her an advantage over opposing guards, and she has the athleticism and guile to neutralize bigs in the paint.
“If Abbey’s shot is off she can get to the rim, rebound, get a deflection and deliver the perfect pass to teammates,” Rule said. “She does it in so many ways. I don’t think it would be difficult for her to average a triple double because she has that ability. She loves finishing a game and feeling like she has nothing left.”
Dec. 28: Holiday Basketball Classic of Palm Beaches; Dec. 28-30: Florida Prospects Holiday Tournament (Orlando); Dec. 28: Naples Holiday Shootout (Naples); Junior Orange Bowl Classic (Miami); Jan. 5-7: SUTS Report New Years Classic in South Florida; Jan. 12-13: Team MVP Sports MLK Super Showcase (Hallandale High School, Miami Dr. Krop); Feb. 1-3: BCAA Girls Basketball Championships (South Plantation); Feb. 5-Feb. 10: District Tournament; Feb. 15: Regional quarterfinals (5A-9A); Regional tournament semifinals (1A-4A); Feb. 20: Regional semifinals (5A-9A); Regional Tournament Finals (1A-4A); Feb. 23: Regional Finals (5A-9A); Feb. 26-March 3: FHSAA State Finals, The Lakeland Center.
Defending State Champions — 1A: Wildwood; 2A: Grandview Prep; 3A: FAMU; 4A: Miami Country Day; 5A: Orlando Jones; 6A: Jacksonville Ribault; 7A: Fort Myers; 8A: Winter Haven; 9A: Boca Raton.
Other players to watch
American Heritage: Daniella Aronsky, Maurissa Edwards, Tiane Stubbs; Calvary Christian: Julia Sieradzan, Brianna Diaz, Christina Elique; Miramar: Oriana Martinez, Tyniesha Carter, Unique Tate, Gerlyn Smith; Boyd Anderson: Jimeshia Lawson, Talesa Campbell, Amkiyah Harley; Dillard: Bria Christi; Cardinal Gibbons: Paris Sharpe, Maria Berrocales, Haylee LaBranche; Blanche Ely: Kristi Stephens, Ja’Niyah Moore, Mikhia Lumsdon; Somerset: Alexis Gibbs, Somerset; Deerfield Beach: Kerlanda Dervil, Ashley Shell; David Posnack: Ahava Greenbaum, Ariel Fishman, Talia Levy; Everglades: Melissa Brown, Whitney Osideko, Kiara Maturah; Pine Crest: Maria Ballestros, Katharina Eibel, Haley Mordis; Highlands Christian: Ciara Huntley, Cassidy Brown, Bianca Francis; Archbishop McCarthy: Lexi Shinn, Lauren Carmona; Hallandale: Dominique Fields, Kira Mercado, Tajahae Wiggins; North Broward Prep: Madi Wilson, Abby Farmer, Amy Kraft; Sagemont: Marnicha Prudent, Taylor Lopez, Leyna Castillo; University: Dasani Cypress; Westminster Academy: Destiny Mergilles, Claire Erickson, Addy Atkinson,
Douglas: Nathalia Balderamma, Taylor Thompson, Asa Dykes; South Broward: Trinity Marsh, Janice Brown, Kamani Jones.
Top 10 Teams (7A-9A)
2. St. Thomas Aquinas
5. Deerfield Beach
6. South Broward
7. Blanche Ely
9. Boyd Anderson
10. Cypress Bay
Top Teams (6A-1A)
1. American Heritage
2. Archbishop McCarthy
3. Cardinal Gibbons
4. Somerset Prep
5. Coconut Creek
6. Westminster Academy
8. Pine Crest
10. University School
10 Players to Watch (6A-1A)
C; Femi Fenues, American Heritage, 6-1, Sr.
G; Deja Antoine, Cardinal Gibbons, 5-9, Sr.
G; Carla Soto, Archbishop McCarthy, 5-8, Jr.
C; Tyaliah Willis, American Heritage, 6-1, Sr.
F; Britnee Gabriel, Archbishop McCarthy, 6-0, Sr.
G; Jade Alexander, Hallandale, 5-8, Sr.
G; Anari Dozier, Coconut Creek, 5-7, Sr.
G; Tyesha Battle, Somerset, 5-7, Sr.
G; Emma Wallhoff, Westminster Academy, 5-9, Fr.
F, Laney Fox, Cardinal Gibbons, 5-10, Jr.
10 Players to Watch (7A-9A)
G; Erin Gutierrez, Nova, 5-9, Sr.
G; Abigail Hsu, Douglas, 5-11, Jr.
G; Bella LaChance, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-6, So.
G; Sophia Jones, Cypress Bay, 5-7, So.
G; Ayanna Emmanuel, Dillard, 5-9, Sr.
G; GiGi Gonzalez, Nova, 5-8, Jr.
G; Halie Murphy, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-9, Jr.
G; Genova Johnson, Dillard, 5-9, Jr.
G; Ja’Leah Williams, Blanche Ely, 5-9, Fr.
G; DenAsia Mitchell, Deerfield Beach, 5-5, Jr.