Washington State's Perkins Leading Cougars

By Daneysse Daniels

Packing up and moving away to college, or even just simply deciding on a college to attend, is not always the easiest decision. But for Jazmine Perkins, senior guard for the Washington State women's basketball team, the decision was made without even a visit to the campus.

"I committed to Washington State without visiting," Perkins said. "I committed before my basketball season and I didn't come to WSU until after the basketball season my senior year around April. I didn't have really interest in what I was looking for I just knew that I wanted to go."

The Berkeley, Calif., native began playing the sport of basketball after years of previous involvement in other sports.

"I started playing sports in general early," Perkins said. "At age four I ran track, then I did two years of soccer. I did jujitsu. I did so many sports. The last sport I did was actually basketball and I didn't start that until like the fifth grade. I chose basketball because it was just fun."

Perkins said while she was young she was able to play with older teams, which was more fun for her. She said playing with some of the older teams made the decision of sticking with basketball easier.

Perkins served as team captain during her junior and senior seasons at Berkeley High School. Perkins was also named to the Street & Smith's All-America team and honorable mention multiple times, as well as leading her team to the Northern California championship game during her senior year.

When deciding on what the next step in her basketball career would be, Perkins said she did not have much specific interest about college, because she initially did not know if she was going to attend.

"My attention wasn't all there with basketball until I got to college," she said. "Although I was like, 'I want to go here and there,' you know of course you would be saying that, watching everyone [play basketball] for these big schools but I really didn't think that I was going, so I really didn't know what I was looking for in schools at the time, other than that I knew that I wanted to hoop and the best program for me was where I made my choice."

Perkins arrived at WSU in the fall of 2008 as part of head coach June Daugherty's first recruiting class.

"[Perkins] has played a tremendous amount of minutes and she is on pace to be, and already is on the top 10 list for scoring, rebounding, steals and assists," Daugherty said. "I think Jazmine on and off the court has grown up immensely. Like most young people I think that each year, it is a new maturation process for them and a new challenge. She is someone that really spends an enormous amount of time out with especially the youth in Pullman and helping them to grow a little bit as people from her life experiences."

Daugherty said this season has been Perkins' best season as a consistent player. She said Perkins' maturation process is exceptional and is an incredible success story for her.

"Each practice she goes in there thinking, not only does she have to continue to improve, but she has to be a good leader for her teammates because she is a senior now," Daugherty said. "To think that four months from now that she will walk away with her degree is the most important thing, and it is a humongous accomplishment on her part as well as being an outstanding Pac-12 basketball player."

April Cook, fellow senior and friend of Perkins, said one of her most memorable moments with Perkins came early in their collegiate careers.

"I remember when we were freshmen and we played the University of Idaho, and it was a really close game the whole time," Cook said. "I made the game winner. I made the shot with just a few seconds left, and there was still like a second or a couple seconds left after I made the shot, and Jazmine just jumped on me at half court, almost tumbled me.

"The game was still going, and she just jumped on top of me. I thought that was like the funniest thing. We are just goofy like that. Ever since we became friends we have just had this connection and been just, goofy with each other."

Before becoming teammates , Cook and Perkins were on rival teams while competing in high school. With Cook attending Long Beach Poly High and Perkins attending Berkeley High, Cook said the two weren't always the best of friends that you see today.

"I didn't hate her but I disliked her because she was on the other team, and we were always trying to beat each other," Cook said. "It was more so the coaches and staff that really got me [to go to Washington State]. Then I started thinking to myself, well Jazmine is up there too, that can't hurt. I knew that she was really good."

Cook said Perkins is one of the most honest people that anyone could ever meet.

"Even if it is something that you don't like, she is just really honest, and I truly admire her for that," Cook said. "She is not afraid to put her emotions out there for everyone to see, and I think that it takes a lot of guts to do that."
 
Perkins said after college, while she has an interest in and would love to play professional basketball, she is also interested in owning her own magazine and photography company.

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