Okemos Hoops Star Jasmine Clerkley Keeping All Options Open
The junior, who is one of the best prep forwards in the country, is looking for the right college program after de-committing from Michigan State.
OKEMOS, Mich – Prep basketball star Jasmine Clerkley first realized that the sport might be for her as she towered over the rest of her kindergarten class. Her love for the game and desire to play has led her to become one of the nation’s best.
Clerkley, a 6-foot junior forward at Okemos, has basketball running through her family – her parents and brother all played the sport.
She has drawn many offers from big programs, including Michigan State, Xavier, Bowling Green State, Western Michigan, and Central Michigan. Clerkley chose MSU during her sophomore year – but then recently de-committed this fall to keep the recruiting process open.
She wants to commit between the end of her junior season and the start of her senior year. She recently had a visit to Xavier, and the offers are still rolling in.
“It’s a good thing. Sometimes I don’t pay attention to those because it can go to people’s heads,” Clerkley, the Chieftains’ team captain, said. “When I did look at it, I just wanted to get myself higher because I know I can do better, and I want to do better. So, I just have to keep the mentality to just go and be the best I can be.”
Kristin Rasmussen, a former MSU basketball star who is now Okemos’ head coach, believes whatever program Clerkley does choose should value her versatility on the court.
“For a program going forward, after these next two years, I think she needs to be in a place they can use her versatility so it’s not ‘she has to be a post-player, or she has to be a guard’,” Rasmussen said. “It’s that maybe a swing-four where she can step out, but she can also go in and show them what she can do on the inside. It will be a little difficult for her because most centers and forwards are going to be taller… That’s where she uses her quickens instead of the height that she lacks.”
Clerkley averaged a double-double last season with 14.5 points, 10 rebounds and 1.4 assists. She’s was named first-team Associated Press Class A All-State in 2018 and AP honorable mention Class A All-State in 2017. Clerkley is ranked No. 47 overall nationally, and No. 7 among other forwards, according to ESPN HoopGurlz.
Rasmussen describes Clerkley as a tweener, where she’s not a super tall center / forward, but she could also be considered a taller guard / forward.
“She’s very versatile, she can dribble the ball, she can guard, she can shoot, she can take someone off the dribble,” Rasmussen said. “What I like most about her game is the inside game that she has, she doesn’t back down to anybody even if they’re taller than her. She’s quick for her size, good passer, there are plenty of good things I could say about her but overall what she does best, is that she gives it her all.”
Basketball has been in Clerkley’s life since her dad decided to start coaching her.
“My dad started training me around third grade when I was getting more into the sport,” Clerkley said. “My parents played basketball, I have an older brother and my dad was training him also, so he kind of showed me. It also helped that we had a basketball hoop at our house. That’s how we really got started. It was fun to see my dad dunk on my brother, and he eventually did it to me, I liked the energy from it.”
“I was like, ‘Oh this actually happens, this isn’t something that just happens on TV’,” she said. “From there I was like I can actually work for more and do better, and go to the school I want, if I continue to play basketball at a better level if I really wanted to.”
Clerkley is looking forward to this season, with goals focused on her team and its redemption.
“My goal is to win our leagues, they’re actually really tough, so I really want to win that or come close, but mostly win it,” she said. “I also want to win regionals because we lost last year, and that was really upsetting. Hopefully, that path will let us move on to states.”
Jasmine Clerkley at Practice