East Hall High graduate Jasmine Jenkins knows what it takes to achieve your dreams.
She has done it as a player, having an illustrious basketball career with the Lady Vikings. Now, it is her time to help pass on the lessons learned.
On Monday, the 27-year old was named the assistant coach of the Davidson College women’s basketball team in Davidson, North Carolina. This is her first Division-I assignment and one she appreciates.
“I feel extremely grateful,” Jenkins said. “My journey to get back has been extremely tedious.”
Jenkins, who played her college basketball at Vanderbilt University, joins the Davidson coaching staff after being furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic at Division-III Pomona Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Pomona-Pitzer also did not have a 2020-2021 season.
This did not deter her from chasing the dream of being a college basketball coach.
Since then, she’s stayed busy, living in five different cities and holding down six different jobs. After leaving California, Jenkins went to Australia, Georgia and Arizona.
All along, the goal was to get closer to her dreams, while navigating the global pandemic.
So, getting the chance to be on the sideline is humbling for Jenkins.
“I feel like I really earned it,” she said. “The level of pride I have in my new title is immeasurable.”
Davidson College women’s head coach Gayle Fulks was seeking a person to fill the staff with Jenkins’ energy and experience.
“We are extremely excited to add Jasmine to our staff,” Fulks said. “Her experience in playing and coaching at high-academic institutions will provide great value and insight to our players, program and community. Jasmine lights up a room and brings an elite level of energy to everything she does. She will be a great mentor to our players and contribute tremendously to their development, both on the court and off.”
Ken Huffman, who coached Jenkins on the AAU travel-ball circuit, is not surprised with her new role.
“This has been her goal for a long time,” the EOTO (Each One Teach One) basketball director said. “She is resourceful.”
Jenkins brings some coaching success to the Wildcats program.
During Jenkins’ time at Pomona-Pitzer, the Sagehens finished 15-11 in 2019-20, which including a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinal appearance.
Jenkins started her career as a graduate assistant coach at Waynesburg University (Pennsylvania) for one season, helping the development of three All-Conference student-athletes during the 2018-19 season.
Now, the 2016 Vanderbilt University graduate is back at a Division-I program where academics is important, along with finding players capable of balancing the two at the North Carolina school.
“I think my experience in a high-academic field is what got me this job,” Jenkins said. “It is tough to find a kid that can hoop and care about what is going on in the classroom. This is a culture is something I want to be a part of because I experienced (it) when the ball stops bouncing, ‘What do you do next?’”
“Teaching them how to expand their horizon after basketball is a really special culture.”