Jasmine Hassell has worked hard to become a pivotal part of the Lady Bulldogs
Feb. 14, 2013
ATHENS----A lot can change in four years and Georgia’s senior forward Jasmine Hassell is proof of that. Even the Lebanon, Tenn., native admits that she has changed into both a different player and a different person during her time in Athens.
“I was so immature and I cried at the drop of a dime, but now I’ve changed to being a tough girl and understanding that, not only in basketball but in life, you’re going to be thrown some curveballs that you’re going to have to deal with,” Hassell said. “You can’t cry about it. You just have to get up, dust off, go to work and get it done. I think I’ve matured and I think overall I’ve gained a lot not only in basketball but also in life.”
Hassell credited a large portion of her personal development to head coach Andy Landers for helping her prepare for life after basketball as well for current on-court success.
While Landers has helped Hassell reach a point in her life she considers herself a tough girl, the Hall-of-Fame head coach admits that wasn’t always the case.
“Her nickname when she got here was ‘big baby’,” Landers joked. “She’d never been a player, believe it or not, who had conditioned and that was the first obstacle she had to overcome. It was very, very difficult for her; probably as difficult as any player I’ve ever coached. You’re talking about a kid that used to have to come up and run after games on the treadmill when she didn’t get to play ‘x’ number of minutes. It was such a fight to get her where she needed to be.”
Being made to run a lot her freshman and sophomore years is something that Hassell remembers, and affected her feeling towards her coach early in their relationship.
“At first we had a love and hate relationship because he’d always make me get on that stinking treadmill,” Hassell said. “But I absolutely love Coach Landers and appreciate him. He’s done a lot for me, he’s an amazing guy and he continues to push me beyond what I think I can do and I really appreciate that.”
While Hassell described the relationship as “love and hate”, Landers quipped he didn’t remember any of the love part during Hassell’s early years in Athens. He did say that getting the former Class AAA Miss Basketball for Tennessee to the level she is currently playing was a struggle for both coach and player.
“We had to do what we had to do and she didn’t understand it and didn’t want to do it. Probably down deep inside she knew it had to be done but didn’t want to do it, didn’t want to endure the pain that she had to go through to get where she needed to be,” Landers said. “It was difficult and every time she thought she had reached a passing grade, we changed the grading scale. For two years it was never ending for her. Every time she got something done, we decided it wasn’t enough so I can understand her sentiments. There wasn’t going to be any dodging it and tears weren’t going to get her out of it.”
Now that she has endured the pain, Hassell appears to be reaping the rewards as she has been named SEC Player of the Week for Jan. 14 and currently ranks 23rd on Georgia’s all-time scoring list with 1,230 career points.
Despite her achievements, Hassell still believes she has a lot of work to do before the end of her career at Georgia,
“There’s still work to be done,” she said. “We’re not done yet and I feel like we’re getting better every day and that’s what we want to do. I just want our season to be successful. It’s really nothing about me I just want Georgia to have the best season possible. I want to go out with a bang along with my other five seniors. What we wanted to do when we got here was bring the tradition back and that’s what we’ve been hanging our motto on so that’s how we want to finish our senior year.”
The other members of Hassell’s senior class are Jasmine James, Anne Marie Armstrong, Tamika Willis, Ebony Jones and Danielle Bennett. This group has grown to mean a great deal to Hassell during her time at Georgia.
“They’re like sisters to me,” she said. “They’re people that when I leave here I will always keep in touch with, always be around, have them at my wedding and all that good stuff. I cherish our friendship. They are amazing girls and without them sometimes I don’t think I’d be where I am today. We’ve all been through a lot since we’ve been in college and a lot of people say you meet your best friends in college and I have definitely met mine.”