The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

Newsletter Signup

Get our news delivered straight to your inbox every week.

* indicates required

Blocking out the competition, Justin Abson’s rise to the top

Emily Simpson
Abson is in his second year with the team. He averaged 6.2 points last season and is currently averaging 8.1 points in 22 games.

Justin Abson has proven to be an outstanding defensive player for the Black and Gold. 

Soccer was the first sport he ever played but, after attending a camp he met his first travel team coach. 

“My aunt sent me to a travel team as an early Christmas gift,” Abson said. “It took off from there.” 

Abson attended North Broward Prep for high school and head coach Dustin Kerns noticed him early. Abson was a three time Sun Sentinel All-Broward county selection. He was also honored as Second Team 4A All-State by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches, while continuing to play for North Broward Prep in the 2020-21 season. 

His senior year of high school, in the 2020-21 season, he averaged a career high 16.8 points and 12 rebounds while collecting 13 double-doubles in 16 games. 

Kerns talked about why App State was attracted to Abson as a defensive player. 

“First of all he’s a great person,” Kerns said. “In terms of basketball, he fits what we do. Well raised, well mannered, good kid.”  

Senior forward CJ Huntley explained what he admires about Abson on and off the court.  

“His work ethic, he comes day in, day out and gets the job done,” Huntley said. 

In Abson’s freshman season of 2022-23, he made an appearance in all 32 games and started in 23. He ranked 15th in the nation for blocks per game. He also averaged 2.19 blocks per game in his freshman year. 

With his sophomore season still ongoing, he is currently averaging 3.13 blocks per game and scoring 8.1 points per game for the Mountaineers. 

“I think Justin could be conference player of the year down the road.” Kerns said. “I think he has put himself on pace to become the all-time shot blocker in school history.”  

So far in Abson’s sophomore season, he has started in every game. He’s shined on defense and averages 1.8 offensive rebounds and 5.6 defensive rebounds per game, leading to  Kerns’ confidence that he can make the play. 

“Getting stops on the defensive end, that translates to offense and where you get a stop you get a block,” Abson said. 

His best game of the 2023-24 season was against Georgia State. The Mountaineers pulled out a 81-71 win with Abson leading the way with 15 points in 32 minutes. He shot 85% from the field, along with grabbing 16 rebounds, two assists and seven blocks. Abson followed up this performance with the game-winning block against Georgia Southern Saturday.

On and off the court qualities in Abson make him a well rounded athlete and ready to show up for the Mountaineers.  

Justin Abson defends the ball against two Coastal Carolina players in App State’s win Jan. 20, 2024. Abson recorded six points and two blocks.

“On the court he brings a lot of good energy and off the court he’s a little quiet until you get to know him but overall he’s a good guy,” Huntley said. 

 Kerns talked about the importance of being a student, and making sure your education is just as important as the basketball court. 

“He leads by example, He is also one of our better students so once again leading by example,” Kerns said. “I appreciate the work he puts into the classroom while also focusing on basketball.” 

In the offseason, training is just as important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to perform for the upcoming season. 

I trained a lot,” Abson said.  “It was completely different than my freshman year, my work ethics just got better and I’ve gotten into better shape on the court and in the weight room.”  

Abson used the word “connected” to define what App State basketball is all about. Bleeding Black and Gold means you rely and depend on one another in the game. 

“Trust in me, trust in them,” Abson said. “They trust me to get a stop on defense.” 

Part of this “connected” mentality is implemented through Kerns. 

“I like to be able to let the players play and play to their strengths and let guys go out there and let them be themselves on and off the court,” Kerns said. 

According to the NCAA College Men’s Basketball blocks per game, Abson is currently ranked second in the country for the most blocks from a player in Division I.  He also currently holds the record of blocks per game with 61 blocks, making him a threat to anyone who faces him. The Mountaineers lead the nation with a total of 148 blocks, averaging seven per game. 

Huntley was asked about what the next steps should be for the star forward.

“Keep being Justin Abson,” Huntley said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Appalachian
Our Goal

We hope you appreciate this article! Before you move on, our student staff wanted to ask if you would consider supporting The Appalachian's award-winning journalism. We are celebrating our 90th anniversary of The Appalachian in 2024!

We receive funding from the university, which helps us to compensate our students for the work they do for The Appalachian. However, the bulk of our operational expenses — from printing and website hosting to training and entering our work into competitions — is dependent upon advertising revenue and donations. We cannot exist without the financial and educational support of our fellow departments on campus, our local and regional businesses, and donations of money and time from alumni, parents, subscribers and friends.

Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest, both on campus and within the community. From anywhere in the world, readers can access our paywall-free journalism, through our website, through our email newsletter, and through our social media channels. Our supporters help to keep us editorially independent, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.

If you can, please consider supporting us with a financial gift from $10. We appreciate your consideration and support of student journalism at Appalachian State University. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, or if you would prefer to make a recurring monthly gift, please give to The Appalachian Student News Fund through the university here:

About the Contributors
Tess McNally, Reporter
Tess McNally (she/her) is a sophomore journalism major from Waxhaw, North Carolina. This is her first year writing for The Appalachian.
Emily Simpson, Associate Photo Editor
Emily Simpson (she/her) is a junior Commercial Photography major. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
Donate to The Appalachian
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Appalachian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *