By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
New Albany coach John Stroud doesn’t expect his star player, Jazmine Spears, to have any trouble succeeding in college basketball.
Spears, who averaged 21.7 points and 14.1 rebounds as a five-year starter for Stroud, signed a national letter of intent Wednesday with Mississippi State.
“She’s college-ready,” Stroud said. “She’s so strong mentally and physically, I don’t think she’ll have any trouble getting used to that style and that level of play.
“She’s a basketball player first.”
Spears, a 5-foot-11 forward/guard, was named the Daily Journal’s 2012-13 Player of the Year after averaging 30.4 points, 15.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 3.7 blocked shots per game. She was also named the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year in 2010-11 after leading her team to a state championship.
The talented player exits New Albany with 3,277 career points and 2,132 rebounds.
Spears is looking forward to the challenge of playing D-1 basketball.
“I know I’ve got to give it my all every day in practice and in games,” she said. “I know it’s not going to be like in high school where I’m the best player. I’ll be surrounded by good players. I know I’m going to have to work hard.”
MSU coach Vic Schaefer is excited to have a player with Spears’ offensive skillset coming to Starkville.
“Scoring over 3,200 points in her career shows she has an offensive mindset that we are excited about,” Schaefer said in a release from MSU.
“Mississippi State has a great program that I think will help me become a better person and a better player on the court,” Spears said.
Stroud believes Spears will play a “trail four” position in college.
“She’s such a good passer and she can shoot the 3,” he said. “She’s got good hands and size to play inside.”