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College basketball: East Hall graduate Jasmine Jenkins recognized as one of the nation's best young coaches
Davidson College assistant women's basketball coach Jasmine Jenkins, an East Hall High graduate, during a game in Davidson, North Carolina. Photo by Dani Garigio

For many years growing up in Gainesville, Jasmine Jenkins made a major impact for any basketball team she played for throughout rec league and travel teams, her high school team at East Hall and in college at Vanderbilt University.

But in the years since she hung up her sneakers in 2016, the 29-year-old and 2012 East Hall graduate has continued making an impact in the game she loves off the court.

That impact was recognized earlier this week, as Jenkins was named among the prestigious 30 Under 30 recognition program by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association when the 2023 list of some of the nation's top young up-and-coming coaches was released Monday.

“It’s a very cool recognition because there are a lot of coaches in the coaching industry,” said Jenkins, who recently completed her second season as an assistant coach on the staff of Davidson College coach Gayle Fulks, and has a five-year coaching career that includes stints as an assistant at Division III Pamona-Pitzer in California and a graduate assistant at Waynesburg (Pa.) University. “To be recognized, especially by my peers, you know, people that I work alongside every day, it means that much more because the think that highly of me.”

Indeed, the WBCA panel selecting the 2023 list, the eighth edition of the honor, recognized Jenkins as one of 30 current coaches under the age of 30 who meet several different criteria set for it.

Among those criteria are community service involvement, mentorship and impact on others, professionalism and attitude and professional association involvement.

The former two criteria are things Jenkins is convinced come from the latter two, and they are two that she says she has worked hard to demonstrate throughout her career, harkening back to her early days while living in Gainesville.

“I think that’s been the entire foundation for my entire coaching career,” said Jenkins, who earned SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition in her senior season at Vanderbilt in 2015-16. “My first job was at the Boys and Girls Club in Gainesville as the athletic director. So I think mentorship and just being involved with the community (is important).

“For example, … we’ve gone to The Pines, (which) is a retirement community. So (the team will) go and have dinner with (the residents) and do a (question) and (answer) session with them, … (and also) have our Wildcat camps and have young kids come and be with the girls and spend time with them and build a program the Mom and Pop way.”

Such experiences, Jenkins believes, will be valuable far beyond the current recognition as she furthers her career.

While she very much looking forward to another year at Davidson, she acknowledges some ambitions further down the road.

“Though it is early in my career, I do have aspirations to be a head coach someday,” Jenkins said. “I feel very passionate about (coaching). Some of the best people in my life have been coaches, and I feel like coaches have the ability to kind of change lives.

“I’m also happy where I’m at (at Davidson). Like I said, I’m in my third year now, and it’s been kind of fun just building stability and continuity with the people that you’re working with and even the athletes that you’re working with.”

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