The SEC just got a little tougher as Jasmine Robinson, 5-foot-7 combo guard from Memphis, Tenn., has given her verbal commitment to Alabama. The road to that commitment and what has been a fantastic high school career was nearly derailed years ago.
"When I was little, I played for a guy, he tried to do everything he could to get me to stop playing," Robinson said. "I used to come home crying. His daughter was on the same team and I guess he wanted her to be the best player on the team."
Just a sixth grader at the time, Robinson nearly hung up her sneakers, seemingly before they were even worn in. Her saving grace -- a mother that refused to let her daughter quit in anything.
"From that point on I knew basketball was what I wanted to do." Robinson added.
The Overton High School star has used that pain to motivate herself and now Robinson is one of the most consistent players at giving her all on both ends of the court. The drive to push through that trying time has stuck with her and ultimately led her to be a college prospect pursued by dozens of major conference colleges.
Robinson strongly considered Memphis and Ole Miss in addition to Alabama and after an unofficial visit in late June, she knew where she was supposed to be and committed prior the NCAA certified evaluation period that started July 6.
"When I first got there I felt like I was supposed to go there," Robinson said of her feeling when visiting the Tide. "When I have a strong feeling I go with it."
On the court she hopes she's one of the pieces that makes Alabama a future power in the SEC and hopes in-state star Kaneisha Horn, ranked as the top prospect in the class by ESPN HoopGurlz, will be another key piece.
"I think it's a very good situation," Robinson added. "I have the opportunity to play in the SEC and if I work hard enough I could start. It's all about getting the right pieces."
Robinson is focused on winning and said her early July commitment will not change her focus or approach to the NCAA certified viewing period events she plays in. Her Memphis Bobcats club team will play at the end of the month in the Candace Parker Invitational in Augusta, Ga. Robinson has also been selected to the adidas Aces team which will travel to Japan in August to compete internationally and experience Japanese culture. Other players selected to the team include Oregon guard Shoni Schimmel, Texas guard Meighan Simmons and Texas posts Karla Gilbert and Rachel Mitchell.
As for Robinson, she longs to be coach when she's done playing. She's going to study education with a focus on physical education at Alabama.
"When I do local camps, she's my lead trainer for the camp," Rod Echols, director of the Bobcats said. "She's great with the kids, talking to them and doing the skills and drills stuff."
Robinson is the second verbal commitment for the Tide, joining Khristian Lee, a 5-9 wing from Birmingham, Ala. Another top prospect considering Alabama is Tyrese Tanner, who told ESPN HoopGurlz that she is considering all teams in the SEC at this time.
ESPN HoopGurlz Big State Flava Jam Evalution: Memphis Bobcats guard Jasmine Robinson is a tireless worker. She is one of the few players that embrace competing on the defensive end of the floor which is part of the reason she's ranked in the ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred. She is a legitimate threat from behind the 3-point arc, can put the ball on the floor, and create for her teammates and for herself. Most of all she leads by example with her heart and intensity.
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Chris Hansen is the National Director of Prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college-basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a Communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high-school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at email@example.com.