By Joseph Staszewski
Jasmine Brunson simply wanted what she has earned and Minnesota can give that to her.
The countless hours in the gym, thousands of jump shots and hundreds of games translated into The Mary Louis Academy guard having a big recruiting summer. It put her in position to play in one of the country’s top women’s basketball conferences in the Big Ten.
“It’s a huge stage,” Brunson said. “I feel like I worked hard enough to be playing on that big stage that they can offer.”
It was exactly what she thought about while wearing a Minnesota jersey at center court of Williams Arena. As she and her mother and the Gophers’ coaching staff talked before heading back to airport, Brunson made her decision before announcing it last week. She chose Minnesota over Hofstra, Providence and North Carolina A&T.
“I was sitting there and I felt like this is where I need to be,” Brunson said. “This is where I can play at. That’s when it really hit me.”
The 5-foot-7 Brunson was impressed with the program’s commitment to its players graduating and felt it had the ability and contacts to help her achieve her dreams of playing professionally when her college career is finished. Minnesota, which went 22-13 last season, currently has three players competing in the in the WNBA playoffs.
She was not guaranteed playing time, but the chance to learn. That was all Brunson was looking for.
“I have been working since I stepped on the AAU circuit and high school,” she said. “That is nothing new to me. Once you give me an opportunity and the chance to prove myself, then I am going to take it.”
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. With her college decision behind her, Brunson’s focus can turn to making history at Mary Louis by winning the school’s first varsity diocesan crown.
“I’m trying to go out on top. I want to win a championship with my school,” Brunson said, “so I am just working toward that.”