STOCKTON — A new position on the court has helped 2012 Weston Ranch High grad Jazmin Strane improve her position in life.
The center-turned-guard is transferring to NCAA Division I Alcorn State after spending two years at Arizona Western College. With her wiry 6-foot frame, Strane terrorized Valley Oak League opponents in her four varsity seasons (2008-09 to 2011-12) at Weston Ranch, where she is the program record holder for career points, rebounds and blocked shots.
She is the second Weston Ranch girls basketball player to compete at the NCAA Division I level, following in the footsteps of Lindsey Saffold (2006).
“I’m kind of a different player than what some people would remember in high school,” Strane said. “Out here I was mainly a post player and now I’m a guard. I’m not saying I’m the best, but I am definitely a guard now and I love the position. I feel like I have a little bit more freedom and control over things instead of waiting in one little area and waiting for the ball to come to me.”
The transformation convinced Alcorn State head coach Tonya Edwards to offer Strane a full-ride scholarship. Strane had also landed a full-ride offer from the University of Indianapolis, an NCAA Division II program that was her No. 1 option at one point. That was before receiving an out-of-the-blue call while at Indianapolis airport following an official visit.
“We are extremely excited to have Jazmin join our Alcorn family,” Edwards said. “She has been on our radar since her days in high school. I love the fact that when we first started recruiting Jazmin she was a post player, now she has transitioned to the perimeter, which makes her a triple threat (scorer).
“It speaks volumes to her work ethic, and I look forward to working with her over the next two years.”
Alcorn State, a historically black college out of Lorman, Miss., is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The women’s basketball team is coming off an 8-22 season and is looking for Strane to provide leadership and versatility for a group that loses its leading scorer in senior Tierro Frost (18.1 ppg).
Strane gained valuable experience having spent two years out of state while attending Arizona Western College (Yuma, Ariz.). Its athletic teams are part of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and compete at the Division I level of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
“Unlike out here, they’re allowed to give out scholarships and do the whole live-on-campus-in-a-dorm thing,” Strane said. “It served its purpose. When I was in high school I always saw myself going away. When I figured that I was going to have to go to a junior college I was still trying to get out of the area.
“Nothing against Delta, it’s a great school and they have a great program and great coaches, but me personally I didn’t want to stay out here. I wanted to go be somewhat independent and needed to grow up a little bit, so I felt like going away was best for me. Looking back it was hard leaving home, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.”
Strane started 17 of 31 games in her freshman season, helping Arizona Western finish 22-9 while averaging 5.5 points per game. Her all-around skills were on full display as a sophomore, when she was among conference leaders in assists (3.1 per game) and steals (2.4) while averaging 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds. The Matadors went 19-12 and placed fifth out of the 12 teams in the ACCAC.
Strane has earned an associate degree in general studies and plans on majoring in a field involving sports. Although she got a taste of college life at Arizona Western, Strane looks forward to seeing more.
“I’m not saying I want to go party every night, but I want to have that college experience,” she said. “Arizona was a smaller school. I want to go to football games and see the band, just experience that part of college life that I didn’t get to experience in Arizona.”
Weston Ranch coach Chris Bauer is proud of his former standout.
“It’s a great step for the program to have someone homegrown accomplish what she has,” he said, “She’s put in a lot of work and matured a lot.”