The first domino of the college basketball signing period fell Tuesday as Columbia High School senior Jasmine Sheppard signed a scholarship to play at Hinds Community College next season.
Sheppard said it’s a blessing to have an opportunity to continue her basketball career at the collegiate level.
“This is everything I’ve worked hard for. It’s hard work paying off,” she said. “I knew if I kept working hard, then eventually it would come. I just have to keep being humble and doing what I do on the court.”
Columbia head coach Charlie James said it’s very rewarding any time one of his players gets to play at the next level because not many are given that opportunity.
“When you get one that’s talented enough to do it, it’s always a blessing to see that happen,” he said.
The point guard said when she visited Hinds, it felt like a great, friendly environment, and the coaching staff made her feel like family.
Sheppard said she’s looking forward to another opportunity to play and show her skills, and she hopes to parlay her two years at the Raymond college into a scholarship at a four-year school.
“I think the sky is the limit for her,” James said. “I think Jas could use these two years to play for two more years. If she just puts the work in, she will get the job done. She has tremendous upside.
Sheppard has taken a step forward each season since becoming a starter as a sophomore, raising her scoring average up from 12.2 points per game to 15.5 as a senior. This season she also averaged 5.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals while shooting above 50% from the field.
She thanked her family, friends, coaches and everybody who has helped get to where she is now. Sheppard is the daughter of Corey Sheppard, Princess Johnson and Kenneth Johnson.
Hinds is 0-6 so far this season after having four games either postponed or canceled because of Covid. In the 2019-2020 season, Hinds finished the year 3-18.
There likely will be at least three more Marion County stars that will sign in the coming months to play basketball at the collegiate level, including East Marion’s Caleb Rawls, Vashon Sims and Lia Smith.