Shooting for the Stars

Jasmine McGinnis-Taylor  |  Junior  |  Westside High School

 

Jasmine McGinnis-Taylor became the basketball player she is today because her mom hated the smell of chlorine. After dislocating her hip in softball at age 10, she took up swimming, but her mom didn’t like the strong chlorine smell, so Jasmine switched to basketball and hasn’t looked back.

At 6’2”, Jasmine plays varsity center for the 2018 State Champion Westside Warriors. She’s been named to the All-Tournament team, following the 2017 Metro Holiday tournament, as well as given All-State honorable mention. During the summer he also plays for Retro Hoops, an AAU team.

According to her Westside coach, Steve Clark, her competitive edge sets her apart. Jasmine not only hates to lose, she’ll raise her level of play to make sure she can compete with anyone. “Her ability to block shots, to go up and get rebounds before other girls have a chance, and to score around the rim, have impressed college coaches and are a challenge for opposing teams,” said Clark. Jasmine is more modest. “It just feels good to help my team.” She has had interest from multiple Division I and Division II coaches for both her athleticism and her strong academic skills. She has her sights set on playing Division I, with a future career as a Division I coach or a sports broadcaster.

In December 2017, the Warriors traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for the Nike Tournament of Champions, where Jasmine was named All-Tournament as well. Unfortunately, Jasmine tore her ACL in January 2018 and has had to focus on physical therapy to recover. “At first it was really hard. I didn’t know what to do with myself because basketball is all I did at the time.” Now she’s back on the court where she belongs.

Jasmine’s biggest challenge was when she lost her best friend and sister, Olivia, to a brain aneurysm on July 4, 2013. Her family is starting the Love, Olivia Foundation to provide scholarships and athletic shoes for kids who may not be able to afford the expense. Jasmine has Olivia’s name tattooed on her right wrist in her memory. Her mom added, “It’s a hard thing to talk about when part of our family is in heaven.”

Working through adversity off and on the court is key. The Warriors have been working with DJ Rezac, a culture coach and strategic planner, to develop the culture of teamwork. “Other teams may have talent, but they aren’t best friends on and off the court,” says Jasmine. Her mom believes this supportive framework has been huge for the team and for Jasmine. “BCD” is one of the team’s catchphrases. “Don’t blame, complain, or defend,” Jasmine explained. “You can’t complain about things that happen. You have to move on.” Jasmine’s mature attitude and sportsmanship make her a valuable teammate and a good friend.

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