Photo by Saul Young, 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel // Buy this photo
Jasmine Jones took a defensive charge before she ever set foot on a basketball court.
For that matter, she hadn't yet taken her first step.
Her mother, LaTrish, was 17 years old and too afraid to tell anyone that she was seven months pregnant with Jones. But that didn't get in the way of her getting in the way of an opponent.
"She was taking charges and everything when she was pregnant,'' said Jones, a Tennessee women's basketball freshman. "And I was like, 'You can't do that when you're pregnant.' But she said she was playing hard and whatever. I was taking a charge with her. That was pretty crazy."
Thanks to her mother's stories, Jones has some great hoops memories. In many cases, she was too young to remember herself.
For example, her mother went on to play at Alabama and had to fill in the blank as to why her daughter was banished to the locker room during practice.
"She told me about this," Jones said. "She told me I was playing on a table and I was just swinging on a table and then I fell and the table collapsed. And then everyone was freaking out. So after that, I was in the locker room watching TV."
Some of her mother's stories apparently inspired Jones as well as informed her. When recalling the great teams she played against, LaTrish mentioned Tennessee and such Lady Vols legends as Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings.
"It was either Catchings or Holdsclaw who scored their 1,000th point on her," Jones said. "She told me that and I'd always laugh."
Laughter aside, Jones took Tennessee seriously, began following the program and, as she said, "started liking how they did things."
The feeling eventually became mutual and Jones, a 6-foot-2 WBCA All-American forward from Madison, Ala., signed with UT last November. As the story goes, LaTrish essentially helped recruit her daughter to Tennessee.
"She did," Jones said, laughing. "I never thought of it that way, but
she did. She did."
Q: Will you get your mom to wear orange?
A: No. I'll be here in, you know, Walmart or anywhere taking pictures of shirts like 'Tennessee Mom' or something. If it has orange in it, she will not wear it. I would send (a picture) to her and she says, 'I'm not wearing that. I'll wear a black shirt with Lady Vols on it.'
Q: Are you already concerned about picking a major?
A: I don't know why I'm stressing. I was at first but then I talked to my advisor and he was like, 'You're a freshman.' So I'm good now.
Q: Do you have some options in mind?
A: I wanted to be a vet but when I realized I have to put animals down, I could not do it. That's something I won't do. Then I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, but it was some class that I didn't have in high school. So I can't take it. ... I was interested in forensic science, but I don't know. I'm just all over the place.
Q: Do you think you'll pick one of those or is something going to come out of left field.
A: It might come out of left field.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: I am shy. I'm shy.
Q: Your mom said that you like to be quiet and observe. Is that true?
A: I'm going to have to break out of the shell and I have to speak more. But it's just difficult for me, I guess.
Q: If you're quiet, what do you think of (demonstrative) teammate Kamiko Williams?
A: She's hilarious. I'm not used to anybody like Kamiko, who's all out there. I have a lot of fun with her.