All that Jaz: Scholarship offers piling up for TMLA’s Brunson

By Joseph Staszewski

Jasmine Brunson showed apprehensive college coaches what they had been asking for all along this summer, and the scholarship offers came rolling in.

There were questions about the Mary Louis senior guard’s mid-range jumper and her ability to use her left hand. Coaches wanted to see that she could be more than just a volume scorer who can get to the basket at will.

Brunson proved she could do all of that and more playing for her Positive Direction travel team at the Run for the Roses event in Kentucky and Battle in the Boro in Tennessee in mid-July.

It was there that the 5-foot-7 Brunson showed off her physical skills, as well as her toughness and leadership when her team struggled.

“No matter how much we were down she just kept going,” TMLA and Positive Direction Coach JoAnn Arbitello-Pinnock said. “They loved her from a mentality standpoint.”

Brunson entered the summer with offers from St. Peter’s, Stony Brook, Fairleigh Dickinson and Lipscomb. After her strong showing this summer, she heads into her senior season with nine more. Rice, North Carolina A&T, Marshall, Hofstra, Providence, Detroit, Niagara, Minnesota and Howard have all extended scholarships Brunson’s way. It leaves her feeling that all her hard work has paid off.

“It meant I was doing my job, because I was waiting on those schools,” Brunson said. “I did something right.”

She has already taken an unofficial visit to Hofstra and will visit Minnesota, Rice and North Carolina A & T in September. If all goes well, she expects to sign with a school in November.

Until then, Brunson continues to improve her game with trainer Priscilla Edwards, a former St. John’s women’s basketball assistant coach. Brunson never misses a session, even when she’s feeling a little under the weather. She takes challenges to heart and each drill is done with intensity and purpose.

“Jaz wants to get it done,” Arbitello-Pinnock said. “If you tell her you want her to touch the rim by September, she will work at it. Her work ethic is incredible.”

The results of that work ethic showed in her last two seasons at Mary Louis, after transferring from Bayside. She led the Hilltoppers to a CHSAA Junior Varsity title as a sophomore and averaged 16.0 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals per contest last year on the varsity.

Her first year playing in the top division in Brooklyn/Queens showed her the level of play that must be consistently maintained to be successful at the highest level.

“It just meant you couldn’t take any games off,” she said. “Everything is going to be tough. Whether you are playing the worst team or the best team, you have to constantly go out and play.”

It is all Brunson has done and it has reaped benefits as her college choices have expanded.

“It’s crazy,” Brunson said. “I didn’t picture it for myself, but I know I worked hard enough to be in this position. It’s fun. I am enjoying it.”

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