By Thomas Sellers Jr.
At each level of her basketball career, Jasmine Newsome has faced questions and doubts with a determination that has made her a champion.
In addition to setting records at Millington Central High School and UT-Martin and winning titles, Newsome’s drive to improve and prove doubters wrongs has made her a professional basketball player.
This summer, Newsome agreed to join the women’s professional basketball league in Germany leaving earlier this month for Europe.
“It like I’m going away to college,” Newsome said. “I’m going away for five months. I’m starting over. It’s something different. I get to meet new people and make a new family somewhere else. I’m really looking forward to it.
“I don’t know what to really expect,” she added. “I’ve never been overseas and this far away from home.”
Before leaving home, Newsome’s parents Trina and Vincent Sr., invited several of their daughter’s former teammates, friends and family for a going-away party at their Millington home.
With dozens enjoying the festivities and celebrating Newsome going pro, Jasmine tried to process the moment.
“I don’t even feel it yet,” she acknowledged. “That’s the sad thing about it. I just feel like another college, I’m going to school again. It’s a new step, another phase in my life, a new chapter.”
The previous chapters in Newsome’s basketball career have been storybook. Before arriving in Millington, Newsome played varsity basketball as an eighth-grader in Kentucky.
Along with her brothers Vincent Jr. and Jerick, Jasmine made the move with their parents to Flag City. Then Lady Trojans Head Coach Stan Gatlin handed the ball to the freshman with court vision, an accurate jumper and above-average basketball IQ.
That first season Millington reached Sub-State, the first of four straight trips with Newsome. In that time the Lady Trojans won several district and Region championships, including a visit to the 2008 Class 3A Girls State championship game.
Newsome was named All-District, All-Region and All-State during her prep career at Millington. En route to becoming the school’s all-time leader in assists and points, Newsome was a finalist for Miss Tennessee Basketball in 2010.
After tallying more than 2,000 points at Millington, Newsome was ready to achieve similar results for Kevin McMillican’s Skyhawks in Martin.
“It was the best experience of my life,” Newsome said. “I would have never imagined it to be like it was. I wasn’t too sure what would be there at first, then it became like my home.”
Newsome led the Skyhawks to four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament berths.
When Newsome left the Martin campus she ranked second all-time in the OVC for scoring with 2,566 points only behind her four-year teammate Heather Bulter.
Newsome won several awards including two OVC Player of the Year Awards. She was named an All-American and All Mid-Major All-American first team selection.
All the winning and awards put Newsome on the professional radar after the Skyhawks were beaten in a thriller against North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. With her traditional support system behind her, Newsome selected Germany as the place to start her professional career.
“My family, my parents, my brothers, my uncles, my Mom’s family, my Dad’s family, my teammates and my friends helped me get here,” she said.
So it was important for Newsome to have her loved ones in one place to say thank you for helping her reach this point. Now the champion has to learn about her new team, league and new country.
“I hope the winning continues,” Newsome said. “I’ve carried it on this far, so I really hope so. I don’t want to go back down. I’m confident it will not but I have to be realistic.”
Newsome said her skill set has helped her win championship eight straight years. But there has been one characteristic that has guided her every step of the way on the courts across North America.
“Heart,” she concluded. “I’ve been doubted since I’ve got to high school. It started there, you have to have that heart. When I got to college I always heard I was too small. I still have a point to prove.”