Updated: Jan 13
Update 5/23/16: Jazmone has been named the permanent head women's basketball coach!
Not long ago, I had the pleasure of conducting my first ever interview with Jazmone Turner. Jazmone is currently the interim head coach of the women's basketball at Ohio Valley University. At the time of the interview (7/29/15), Jazmone was an assistant coach with heavy recruiting duties. It was a true blessing to catch Ms. Turner before she knew such a big blessing was coming. It allows the reader to truly appreciate the faith, determination, and preparation she had when her number was called. At only 26, she's one of the most ambitious women I know.
Tell me about yourself, Jazmone Turner
I'm a graduate of Trotwood-Madison High School, Muskingum undergrad, and currently studying at Ohio Valley University to get my masters. I coach basketball at Ohio Valley University, I played collegiate basketball for 3 years, and high school basketball for four years. I also have experience coaching AAU basketball, as well as playing AAU basketball. I am a family person, love music, and am all about young women in athletics, and helping them become better.
What are you currently doing?
Once I graduated college I immediately got into coaching AAU basketball. Really set my mark when I got to All Ohio. Going into my second year at Ohio Valley University, I was brought on as a recruiter and assistant coach. I made it my duty to teach the young women life qualities, letting them know that the lessons learned on the court can be used off court as well.
How have you gotten into these positions at such a young age? Did it start at Trotwood-Madison (High School), or College?
Taking myself out of the environment that I was used to. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone by going to a PWI (Predominately White Institution) to face adversity and get accustomed to different cultures. Establishing my network base at a predominately black high school, I believe that it was taking that step into other cultures that allowed me to further my career. Because I'm a people watcher, it allowed me to understand people of all cultures and led to great networking opportunities.
How did your experience with the D’Angelo Russell Basketball Camp go, and how did you make that connection? (Jaz was scheduled to be the keynote speaker of the camp)
I was in the gym working out with one of the freshman on the team when a guy by the name of Don Sellers walks in to check out the workout. Don Sellers is a NBA scout for various teams and travels across the world scouting NBA talent. During a break from the workout, he walks over to me and we began to talk. After telling him who I was, he then asked me to work and speak at the D’Angelo Russell Camp. I told him I would. Lawrence Funderburke ended up being the keynote speaker and was really really great. I still worked my station at the camp and encouraged the kids to have enthusiasm, believe in themselves, and know who they are. The opportunity was great, Don was great, and being able to speak to that many kids was a blessing. I’m an opportunist, so wherever I see an opportunity to help others, I’m all for it. Especially the youth.
What would you like to tell anyone pursuing their dreams?
"First you have to know who you are. It’s something that I’m new to but it’s something that has been popping up in my head for a while now. How can I get them to have chemistry on and off the court if I don’t know myself? They started a high performance team at Ohio Valley University to help the student athletes find their identity and purpose. The high performance team is a 7 week program that teaches them how to become a team before diving into the basketball aspect of the sport." (This method reminds me of the old stories my pops would tell me about Phil Jackson, AKA the Zen Master, and how he would tap into the minds of his teams before they ever picked up a ball. This technique would surely help many of the athletes today find their purpose outside of sports.) Turner continues, "Figure out who you are first and why you want to pursue that dream. Understanding that reaching that goal is not going to be easy, a lot of "no's", but knowing yourself will help you get through those times."
One problem in the world and your solution to changing it?
That’s a hard question. There are many things I wish I could fix. One thing I think I can help with is helping young women to become better. And I think my voice through coaching can touch a lot of lives. Not just using this basketball thing as a basketball thing, using it as basketball thing to help you throughout life. My goal is to implement my idea of the high performance team on a national scale that reaches everyone from division 1 colleges to Junior Colleges, all the way down to the high school level.