Sanders becomes Golden Eagle

Published 11:12 pm Monday, April 16, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
Sitting at the center of what was the signing table in the Escambia County High School library Wednesday morning was Jasmine Sanders. Sanders and four of her classmates signed scholarships to move on to the college level after graduation in May.
She was the marquee signer as she signed her scholarship papers to play for the University of Southern Mississippi next year.
"It feels good to sign that paper and I am excited about the next four years," Sanders said.
Needless to say, her family is ecstatic about her future.
"I am extremely happy for her," said Connie Craft, Sanders' mother. "But if it was not for God I don't think she would have made it this far."
Sanders' stepfather, Timothy Craft, said he believes this is a blessing for Sanders.
"I am so proud of her because you don't always see kids make it this far," he said. "And it is good to see her make it to college. I think the main reason why she made it is her hard work and determination."
And who can forget the little brother, who idolizes Sanders.
"I am so happy and proud of her," said Dalvin Craft, Sanders' brother. "If I can do what she has done then I know I will be successful too. She showed me how to succeed."
Sanders took a visit to Southern Miss March 25 and met the Golden Eagles head coach, Joye Lee-McNelis.
McNelis said it is good to have Sanders and the rest of her 2007 recruiting class.
"Wow, what a great recruiting class," McNelis said. "I am so excited about this quality group of young ladies who share the same vision as our staff and team. They are a fine group of young ladies who come from great families who have encouraged them to always give their best."
Sanders said she believes the hard work and dedication she put into the season paid off in the end.
"I worked as hard as I could all season because I knew it would take hard work to get to this point," Sanders said. "I thank coach (Todd) Reynolds and coach (William) Casaday for all the hard work they put in to get me this far."
And Reynolds, the ECHS head coach, also believes hard work is what landed Sanders a spot on the Southern Miss roster.
"She is the epitome of a diamond in the rough," Reynolds said. "Because if she is not working in a system like the one we had, there is no telling how many points per game she would have scored."
Sanders finished the season with 447 total points, 435 total rebounds, 128 assists, 110 steals, 133 blocks, 22 double-doubles and seven triple-doubles. She averaged a double-double per game at 13.1 points per game and 12.8 rebounds per game.
Casaday, the ECHS assistant coach, believes Sanders showcased her talent at the right time during the first round of the AHSAA Class 4A South Region playoffs in February.
"Jasmine played the perfect game at the perfect time," Casaday said. "I think Jasmine is in a great spot over there at Southern Miss and she works hard. She will fit into their system perfectly."

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