By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WHEN Jasmine Roker joined his Diamond Bas-ketball Development Programme, coach Ter-rance McSweeney said he knew he could turn her speed as a soccer player into a prime time basketball player.
From 2017 when she transferred from HO Nash to St John’s College, McSweeney has been work-ing with Roker, whom he nicknamed ‘Coffee,’ devel-oping her as a point guard. She also utilised her skills as a track athlete.
Those combined skills have enabled Roker to secure an athletic scholar-ship to attend Saint Leo University, a NCAA Divi-sion II school where she will enrol in August, 2021.
“I am very excited for this opportunity for Jasmine Roker, another participant in the Diamond Basketball Development year-round training programme just for girls,” McSweeney said.
“I am expecting Jasmine to fit right into the Saint Leo University women’s basketball programme right away because Jasmine is a very quick learner.”
In making her selection after she couldn’t travel for a site visit because of the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Roker said she decided to settle on a school that was in close proximity to home and the warm climate.
“Saint Leo really clicked on all of my checked boxes and although they are a division two programme, coach McSweeney always told us that there’s room for improvement,” Roker said.
“So I’m not mad about that. I’m honoured by this opportunity.”
When she does go, Roker hopes to study biology, but she’s eager to prove to the coaching staff why they selected her for the scholarship.
“They are going to get my best,” Roker said.
“This programme has helped me tremendously. Coach played a big role in my development as a player.
“He always talks to us and lets us know that we have the talent and we’re capable of doing whatever we put our mind to. We just have to put in the work. I told myself that all the time.”
Roker said she has gotten so much encourage-ment from being a part of the Diamond Basketball League programme that she could only go on to be successful.
McSweeney said he is confident that Roker’s ath-leticism to play soccer and run track will complement and enhance her skills on the basketball court at Saint Leo. “Chances are Jasmine Roker could very well end up running track and or playing soccer for the uni-versity,” McSweeney said.
“While attending my junior girls’ basketball team practice, I realised that Jas-mine had other potentials and talents to play basket-ball as well as run track and now it’s paying off,” he added.
Now, only time will tell how well Jasmine succeeds at Saint Leo University in St. Leo, Florida.