Last season, Evans guard Jasmine Stone came into her own as a basketball player. She was chosen Columbia County Player of the Year.
She scored in 19.3 points per contest and nailed 56 three pointers. She also averaged 3.5 assists and 2.4 steals. When Evans standout Allysha McFarland, missed seven games in the middle of the season, Stone stepped up her play to an elite level.
The first time I saw her, she was a tall, rail-thin eighth grader at Evans Middle School. She had been selected to play in a middle school all-star game I was assisting with. She stood out to me at the practices. First off, she was already 5-7 as an eighth grader, and while she was still raw, she had obvious talent. On top of that, she always had a smile on her face and seem to be unfazed playing against top competition.
She was by no means the top player among the group of talented eighth graders, but she left an impression on me. So much so that I scratched out a quick note for my partner and CSRA All-Star Game founder, Gerald White. Gerald could not make the first practice, but I knew he would be attending the next one.
The note said, “Keep and eye on the Stone girl. She has big-time potential.” I left him notes on only three girls of the 29 who attended that first practice.
I thought Stone could be a solid high school player one day, but I never envisioned her accomplishing what she did last year. She made Evans a legitimate contender for a region title. This is an Evans program that had won 14 games between 2004-05 and 2010-11. That’s seven years and just 14 total victories. Evans had not qualified for the state tournament in 31 years and had never won a state tournament game.
All of that changed last year. The Lady Knights, led by Stone, advanced to the AAAAA Sweet Sixteen and finished with 19 wins. Stone was named All-County, All-Region, and Honorable Mention All-State.
She is not satisfied with her impressive junior campaign. Stone was busy on the summer circuit trying to impress college coaches. Mission accomplished.Stone is getting attention from more than a dozen schools. And, thanks to her hard work in the classroom, she is being recruited by Ivy League programs Harvard, Cornell and Princeton.
Three things about Jasmine Stone are clear to see. She has worked extremely hard to become the player she is today; she has a very bright future because of her intelligence; and she has a great personality. Good luck to the players trying to wrestle the 2013-14 County Player of the Year Award away from this frontrunner.