David Wheeler – Brielfy on Jasmine Spears of the New Albany Lady Bulldogs

How often do you look up something on Max Preps?
I do from time-to-time myself, going straight to the Mississippi page.
And there at the top of the page is a story on Victoria Vivians of Scott Central with the headline saying she scored 62 points against Lake Jan. 11.
On the other hand, there is senior Jasmine Spears of the New Albany Lady Bulldogs, to me, one of the most-overlooked high school basketball stars in Northeast Mississippi, and the state.
That is right, I said overlooked.
And under appreciated.
Quickly to the point of Spears and Vivians, they will be on the same court Saturday when New Albany plays Scott Central at Ackerman.
“They are totally different plays,” New Albany head coach John Stroud said. “I’m looking to seeing us play them.”
For the record, at 6-foot-2, Vivians is averaging 37.7 points per game.
At 5-foot-11, Spears is at 28.2 ppg, and 16 rebounds per game.
And they played AAU ball during this past summer together on the same team. Takes some of the drama out of this?
Anyway, back to the point of Spears being a forgotten player in Northeast Mississippi.
Perhaps that is a product of just being so good?
“She made all-state as an eighth grader,” Stroud said. “So she’s seen everything.
“She can make plays when she wants to, I think she’s a blue-collar type player.”
Through her sophomore year, Spears was on New Albany teams that compiled an 89-3 record. Just roll that around in your brain for a bit.
Pretty impressive stuff.
Of course that includes the 2011 Class 4A State Championship as part of a senior dominated group of Lady Bulldogs, of which Spears was a major contributor.
Since, through the game I covered Friday against Mooreville, Spears’ teams are 28-17.
“She’s not flashy, just blue-collar,” Stroud said. “I think other coaches see that.
“I think the average fan thinks she should do everything, but I think you have to come watch her play to appreciate her.”
Spears has had her share of coaches watch her play over the years, that of the college variety.
There is probably a good chance Ole Miss and Mississippi State have a bit of an inside track. But if the sales pitch is found wanting, there are plenty of Division II schools that would welcome her with open arms.
“Some might be concerned with her size, that she’s under-sized for the Southeastern Conference,” Stroud said. “To me, she’s definitely an SEC player.
“All the other small Division I schools in the South, they’re on her.”
In the games I have covered of the Lady Bulldogs the last two seasons, Spears has been playing out of position. By need rather than choice.
She throws the ball in.
She handles the ball in breaking the press.
She runs point guard.
She posts up.
She rebounds.
Sometimes you never appreciate what you have. Northeast Mississippi show appreciate Jasmine Spears!

David Wheeler has been contributing to the high school sports coverage of the Daily Journal since 1985.

Posted in Sports

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