Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bartlett girls basketball passes coaching torch from Lynn Whitfield to Jasmine James

 image/article from Commercial Appeal

Basketball took Jasmine James from Memphis to a standout career at Georgia, then on to the WNBA and countries like Brazil, Israel and Germany. But home was always special.

Now she's in a position to make Bartlett basketball special for the next generation.

The 26-year-old has been named coach of her alma mater replacing Lynn Whitfield, who is stepping down after 27 seasons at the school and 37 altogether. James served as an assistant under her old coach this past year.

"I figured out my freshman year of college that I wanted to coach," James said. "I always thought it would be in college ... (but) Bartlett has a special place in my heart. Honestly, it's a dream come true. It's a community that means the world to me."

Said Whitfield, "I'm so proud of J.J. She understands what Bartlett basketball is all about and she loves the tradition."

James played a huge part in creating that tradition. She ranks 16th all-time among Shelby County scorers with 2,378 points and is one of only three players to win The Commercial Appeal's Best of the Preps player of the year award three times.

Bartlett's new coach also played a big role in her old coach's success. Whitfield's 611 victories rank her second all-time among Shelby County coaches, trailing only Derek Hunter of Mitchell.

Whitfield said it was hard to call it a career but knowing she'd be passing the torch to James made it easier.

"There were pros and cons," she said. "But I knew J.J. would be the (best) one (to take over). I feel comfortable knowing who the job has been left to.

"It's hard. I played at Memphis for Mary Lou Johns and basically have been coaching since I graduated. I'm going to miss the relationships with the kids. I'm old-school; I'm more about teaching the game, seeing where you start and where you end up."

James said the year working with Whitfield has given her a leg up heading into her first summer with the team.

"The main thing I learned was patience," James said. "She told me, 'This isn't a pro team. This isn't a college team.' It's high school and there's a whole spectrum of skill levels and I had to get used to that."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.