#TGW: All That Jazz
Guard Jasmine Carson bringing “Can-do” attitude, “Mamba” mentality, long-range shooting, goals to Tech
By Jon Cooper
Jasmine Carson isn’t asking for much in regards to playing time in her freshman season.
All she wants is a shot. Just give it to her — no matter the distance. She’ll take it and she’s confident she’ll make it.
“The strength I have is shooting,” said the 5-10 guard from Memphis, Tenn., who played her first two years of high school at Central High School — leading the Warriors to a district championship as a sophomore — before playing her final two years at McEachern in nearby Powder Springs. “I really think I can do everything. But one of my strengths is shooting. I know I have to get stronger and bigger. Right now, as a freshman, my task will be to make shots when needed and to do anything Coach Jo needs me to do to win.”
Georgia Tech women’s basketball head coach MaChelle Joseph is confident in Carson’s marksmanship and her all-around game and with good reason. She has found that kind of player before in the exact same place — Memphis and Central. It’s where she found Aaliyah Whiteside, who between 2012-2016, scored 1,580 points, seventh all-time in program history, and her senior year, as team captain, earned first-team all-ACC and honorable mention all-America honors while leading the ACC in scoring (19.5 ppg).
Joseph believes that lightning can strike twice in the same place and that Carson can strike from anywhere.
“Jazz is one of the most elite three-point shooters in this class,” she said. “She has the ability to become a prolific shooter in the ACC. We are excited about Jasmine’s ability to space the floor with her range and ability to make plays off the bounce.”
Carson, who once made as many as 15 three-pointers in a game — part of a 48-point effort she refers to as her favorite basketball moment — welcomes the opportunity to take the big shot in ACC competition and believes she can do anything.
That “Yes, I Can!” attitude is a core belief that was strengthened at age 11 when she met President Barack Obama and First Lady, Michelle.
“I was shocked. I was happy, there were a lot of emotions going through my mind,” she recalled. “I met Michelle Obama, too. She was nice, kind. It was very instrumental in my life.”
Another instrumental influence, especially in the fearlessness with which she plays, is her basketball role model, Kobe Bryant.
“What drew me to Kobe Bryant was his mentality — they called it ‘The Mamba Mentality,’” she explained. “Every night he played on the court, he thought, ‘You’re not going to beat me. I’m going to give you everything I have.’ I just fell in love with his mentality and his game.”
She also fell in love with the ACC growing up despite growing up in the heart of SEC country.
“When I was younger I used to watch women’s college basketball all the time and the schools I would watch were Notre Dame, Louisville, Duke,” she recalled. “I always wanted to play against them. Now I have a chance to.”
Despite heavy recruitment from Tennessee, Carson could not pass up the overtures of Joseph and Georgia Tech.
“It was between Tennessee and Georgia Tech. I chose Georgia Tech because of Coach Jo,” she said. “She’s a winning coach. I just liked how great of a person she is.”
As so often is the case, Carson also was hooked after making her visit to Atlanta, seeing the campus, and meeting the team — she never felt the need to visit any other schools.
“I know that once I leave Georgia Tech I will be a better person than when I came in,” said Carson, a computer science major, who aspires to one day work at Apple in Los Angeles and create video games and her own apps. “Academic-wise, it’s a great engineering school. Then, the ACC is the best conference. So I have the best of both worlds by having a great education, so that when I graduate I’ll have a great job, then, on the other side, I’ll be playing at the highest level, competing against other great athletes.”
So sure was Carson about attending Georgia Tech and so eager was she to get her bearings, that she moved to Powder Springs and attended McEachern High School her final two years.
“I wanted to get a head-start, get acclimated with Georgia,” she said. “I chose McEachern because one of my former coaches recommended it because of their state championship legacy and Coach (Phyllis) Arthur is a great coach. They felt I would do great at McEachern.”
She did, earning first-team AAAAAAA honors and helping the Indians reach the state semifinals.
As Carson begins her first semester at Tech, she’s gotten used to adjustments.
“I had to adjust my time management,” she said. “I couldn’t be on social media. I had to go to study hall in the morning, we had practice and weights after, so I had to adjust my time wisely. I had to learn how to eat breakfast in the morning because in high school I used to just eat lunch. When I arrived on campus I learned how to eat breakfast and adjust my time, wisely.”
Her new family has made that adjustment easier.
“I love the coaching staff and my teammates,” she said. “My teammates, we get along, we joke around. I feel like as days go by we get closer. The coaches are great. I feel like I knew them longer than when I arrived on campus.
“The reason that I committed to Georgia Tech was I felt that it was the best fit for me. I knew that it was family-oriented,” she added. “I knew that I was going to do big things here, I know that I will do big things.”
She’s 100 percent committed to helping Georgia Tech challenge for championships.
“Playing in the ACC, every night you have to give it your all because the competition in the ACC is very high and it’s every opponent,” she said. “I learned playing in the state championships that everything is on the line. You have to play your best every single night. Transitioning into college basketball it’s still everything on the line because you’re trying to make the NCAA Tournament and you have to have those wins in order to do so. So I learned play hard every game because everything’s on the line.”