Al Thompson
Jasmine Martin will is scheduled to tryout for the WNBA and other pro leagues around the world April 1-3, 2016 in Indianapolis, IN. Photo by Al Thompson

Most young athletes dream of playing their sport at the professional level, but very few get close at all to that level.

Sicklerville native Jasmine Martin, a standout basketball player at Timber Creek and Quinnipiac University , is on the brink of realizing a goal so few reach.

Martin has been invited to the International Womens Combine for the Pre-WNBA Draft, International European Women’s Professional Basketball Leagues, FIBA Licensed Agencies and specific Latin/Asia Countries, April 1-3 at the Incrediplex in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“It will pretty much make my dream become a reality,” Martin told the Wire recently. “Out in Indiana, I’ll be able to play against some of the top players in the country, hopefully in front of some of the top coaches and have an opportunity to play at the next level whether that be overseas or the WNBA.”

After an All American career Martin was set to play in Europe with the hopes of climbing the pro basketball ladder. She signed with an agency that had her placed on a team in the United Kingdom, but the deal went south.

“I planned to play in Ireland but the deal fell through at the beginning of the season,” Martin explained. “Everything happens for a reason. I needed this year to work on my skills, work on my game.”

Since there was no WNBA or Europe club this year, Martin decided she wanted to put herself in the toughest basketball competition she could find and that turned out to playing in a mens adult league.

“Getting runs in is very important,” Martin said. “But being in shape and being in game shape are two different things.”

Many women’s college basketball programs practice against men to gain strength and physicality.

Playing against men has been criticized at some schools, even prohibited.

Martin does not agree.

“I think it’s great,” Martin said with a smile. “Because at the next level the bodies I am going to be playing against are very strong and you want to be playing the best of the best.”

Martin says she gets a lot from lacing them up against the guys. She says she holds her own on the court.

“Sometimes they go kind of soft on me, and I don’t want them to,” Martin said. “It’s interesting seeing how sometimes they don’t expect me to do certain things and I do them. It’s a lot of fun, they respect me out there, I respect them and they allow me to play with them…it’s all good.”

Martin was one of the best players in Quinnipiac history, averaging 12.8 points per game en route to two NCAA Tournament appearances. Both appearances saw the Bobcats go undefeated in conference play in the Northeast Conference and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference respectively, with Martin earning MAAC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors in 2015. She finished her four-year career with 1689 points.

Her sister Brittany will be joining the Quinnipiac program in 2015-2016 as a point guard.

In addition to staying in game sharp, Martin says the conditioning aspect is just as important to realize her goals.

“There is an opportunity for me to showcase what I’ve been working on for the past year here at Adrenaline that includes strength and conditioning as well as basketball,” Martin said of the Cherry Hill training center. “I’ve really stepped my game up, I’ve been in here 4-5 days a week.

“I’m doing a lot of strength and conditioning, a lot of speed and agility,” she continued. “(Adrenaline Training Facility owner) Chad Hallet has me working on explosiveness, working on getting stronger and getting my body for that next level. He’s done a great job with me, he pushes me, and then on the basketball side with (coach) Al Fisher, we do a lot of shots, a lot of ball handling, working on me and getting confident in my game and what I do.”

Martin talked about the game she is trying to put together for the coaches and scouts in Indianapolis in a few weeks.

“I’m a scorer so I like to score the ball but I also need to transition to more of a point guard at the next level because of my height,” said Martin, who notes she is 5-foot-7. “I still want to be a scoring point guard. I don’t want to go away from what I know and what I do. I just want to play my game and do what I’ve been doing for the past 10-15 years.”

Like most middle school or scholastic players, Miller had older players she admired and emulated.

“Growing up I watched Elena Delle Donne,” Martin said of the former Delaware All American and current WNBA Chicago Sky star. “I remember watching here when I was in sixth and seventh grade,” “I used to go watch her play in Delaware…and Maya Moore (WNBA Minnesota Lynx) obviously. She was just great to watch. I never played against her but I like to watch her play.”

Martin said she wasn’t just a fan of those players. She went to watch them play to see what level she needed to reach.

“Just seeing them play, the way that they played,” Martin said. “I knew I had to step my game up. I’m not trying to be like anybody else. I’ve got to be me. I just have to go out there and be myself. I can’t compare myself to Maya Moore, I can’t compare myself to Elena Delle Donne, I just have to be Jasmine Martin.”

She plans on being herself the first three days at the combine. Martin feels if she can relax and play her game, good things will happen.

“I’m very confident, all I need is an opportunity,” Martin said. “I’ve been putting in the work and when my work meets opportunity, I plan on making it.”

As seen in the Wire Community Newspaper of South Jersey.

9 Mar 16 - Basketball - Al Thompson - No Comments

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