Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 5 months ago

Jasmine Thomas | Average To Savage EP124

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the one hundred and twenty-fourth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas. Paul Guarino talked with Jasmine Thomas discussing her time at Duke, playing in the WNBA, and her goal to win a championship. Follow Jasmine Thomashttps://www.instagram.com/jaszthomas/This podcast interview with Jasmine Thomas was originally recorded on May 17, 2021

This is the Average to Savage podcastwith paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone athletes, celebs andmuch more. What's up everybody? I'm back for another episode of the averageSavage podcasts. Our special guest today is Jasmine, thomas, jasmine,how's it going? It's good getting settled back in Connecticut tired, butyeah, no, I know you just got back from Turkey and you guys want over there. Uh,just tell me, tell me a little bit about that. Um, I mean it was a crazyseason, but in the Turkish league we went undefeated. So it was pretty muchexpected that we would win, but we didn't expect to be hit with Covid umin the last month of the season. So right before your league final formyself and a few other players had Covid. So it was it was a rocky andthen kind of a all came full circle felt good to win. Yeah, for sure. Whatwas your record and you said you got how many wins? 34. 34. No. And it wasgreat. It was there any close games or you guys were you guys nervous likeduring the season, I mean? No, I don't think so. There were a few close games,but during the season it's just kinda hard because every night, so like everycouple of months it was a yearly bubble, you know, so you play Turkish leaguegames like boom, boom, boom. And then the league would just stop and you goto the early bubble. So it was more so trying to stay healthy because youreally like get up for the early games, you're playing against the best playersand you know, all of europe and the foreigners from the States W. B. A.Come over. So those games are more important. So once that was done it waslike okay, like we just need to get these few playoff games over with andand win this championship. Yeah, for sure. Alright, let's just go back intime. Like what's your first memory of picking up a basketball? First memory picking up a basketball?Um It wasn't like a competitive one. I feel like I used to just get, you know,dragged around to different gyms following my brother. My brother playedfootball and basketball, but only in high school, he didn't play after that.But I would just travel around to the games and I'd be running around notpaying any attention. And I want to say the first time I probably touched theball, I was on the baseline, like running around with all the otherlittle siblings and it just came out of balance to me and I'm like, here you gorough, like that's just it. Um And then something just clicked like, I don'tknow, I probably was like eight then, but like two years later I was like, Ithink I want to play. You know like why, why aren't any girls playing? Like Ireally wasn't around women playing. I wasn't exposed to it that much. So Ijust, you know, started feeling like it was something I wanted to do. Yeah. And then what I was just speakingto that point, did you like, when did you know, there was like a W. N. B. A? Not until I was well into play. Iprobably was like, Who knows? I would say it 10. Like I knew, you know, but Iwasn't following, I wasn't like, you know, really recognizing players,having a favorite player, like whatever. But by the time I was like 12 I waslike, okay, this is, this is cool, this is what I want to do, this is, you know,I enjoyed watching the games. You know, the Mystics had, that's my hometownteam, They had good like attendance every season. There was uh, I can'tremember what year, but there was an all star game. I went to that and I wasjust like, you know, I finally really fell in love with basketball aroundthat age. Gosh, and I know, uh congrats, I know you just got um inducted intothe Hall of Fame in your high school. Um and you grew up in Virginia. Um Thentell me like what the recruiting process was like for you, I feel likepretty typical of like top 20 prospects. So, you know, you do for me, Au circuitwas how I got all my exposure, at least. That's how I felt. Um Like high school,even though like the D. M. V. Area is...

...super competitive. Everybody, you know,they knew about me, we were playing against a lot of competition. I feellike I played in front of the, you know, top college coaches through the AUcircuit. So I was on a good team, good travel team had like Nike sponsorship,big tournaments played well and letters just started coming in. Um I didn't doany of the camps because some of them were like the camp letters coming elitecamp. Like we, you know, we want to see you want to get you on the campus. ButI just was like, whoa, like it's crazy how it just goes from like a hobby.It's fun. I'm meeting friends. Like we're traveling, you know, going placesI would never go because of basketball to like I can go to college and likereally make a living for myself through this. Yeah, for sure. And then, andthen what made you pick Duke, my official visit is really what putthe stamp on it. But um I follow Duke the most. I was a fan of the ElenaBeard. The money curry Lindsay hardened. I really saw um a lot of myself intheir system through Lindsay Harden. I was a huge fan of coach G coach K. Ilove Duke men's basketball and you know, it's kind of like my dream school. UmIt was between them Maryland which is a team, you know, close to home was therewas a lot of 80 tournaments at Maryland, went to a lot of Maryland games. Um U.V. A. Was close to home and UConn was another one that was on my list. Andonce I went on that official visit to Duke, I just knew this is where I'msupposed to be. Yeah. That's awesome. Now, what now, what is that like toactually go to your dream school? Well, it was cool because they had like,as soon as I got on campus for the visit, like JJ Reddick and coach K kindof like, we're like welcome. Like the welcome was with them. Um, and Ithought that was kind of cool because those were the, you know, the, at leastJJ Reddick for sure. On the men's side. I was a fan of him. And I remember hewas like, I went to there, uh, N C double A game or maybe it's a C. Ctournament, but it was at the M. C. I center at the time in D. C. AgainstGeorgia Tech. And I remembered like that moment, so meeting him and beingaround him with school. But um, I don't know, it's just do have such a big namethat I think people think it's like this huge school with like a lot ofpeople and you know, it's this small, I am in private school where everyoneknows everyone. I feel like what 6000 is like the undergrad. So when I gotthere, I was just like a little bit overwhelmed with how like the architecture, the like everybodyjust really being all four basketball, like the students, while they'reextremely intelligent, obviously they really are there for the basketballexperience too. And that's just a good thing to feel a part of. Yeah, for sure.I, I didn't, to be honest, I didn't even realize it until a few years agothat like Duke was that small, like, uh, so that's cool. Um and then like, what,what was your overall experience? Like I do like on and off the court um onthe corner is pretty good. I wasn't I could have gone further in thetournament. I feel like that was I mean it's the hardest tournament toadvancing but I feel like getting hit at the elite eight twice in a row. Um Iwanted to make it to the final four so that was tough. But um A. C. C.Championships, the uh Duke unC rivalries uh You know the Maryland gamebecame a rivalry after the loss in uh the tournament years years back. Sothose games they were just there's nothing like that feeling especially inCameron like the on court experiences. Everything you ever all the resources.Like I love my teammates. Everything was just it's perfect um Off like busy. Like Ifeel like you know trying to prioritize school and Duke was hard and I'm likeserious about school in the classroom. So I feel like I really was staying uplate night studying and making sure I...

...was doing my assignments are trying toget things done before we went on the road. Um, but it was cool hanging outwith like, you know, the other men's basketball, other sports kind of likeeverywhere, athletes, you know, a lot of similar lifestyle hang out a lottogether. Um, in summer school with school, I love being at school. It wasonly athletes. The class, the workload was in the classroom was less. Um, andthe weather was good. North Carolina is hot as hell in the summer. So I don'tknow if I ever heard anyone say summer school is school. Exactly. But trust me,trust me as more athletes about summer school, the conditioning and all thatstuff. Yeah, it's tough, but you're pretty much free. You know, you get to,and as of what you're 18 to 21 year old, you know it's cool you away from homeyou get to live off campus and kind of have this like pre adult life. It wasfun. Yeah. Well I can tell you well actually before all this pandemic I wasback in school 2010-2014 and I did some summer classes like online so thosewere dope because the teachers didn't really pay attention to it. So that wascool. I mean that's the same though like even when you're going to get somuch more laid back. Yeah sure. Yeah for sure. Um and then yeah just goinggoing into after that and then entering the W. N. B. A. draft, like where didyou think you were position and I know you got drafted 12th overall. Like didyou think that was a good spot? You got drafted too late? Um Honestly, I neverreally thought much of it. I was so just like my dream literally comingtrue, have an opportunity to compete in this league and going in the firstround in general is hard to do. So um you know, I was just grateful for theopportunity. I know my um my junior year at Duke uh productive wise, likemy stats and everything and kind of how I played was better than my senior year.Um So I'm sure that affects some things, but everything worked out for mehonestly and pretty good. Yeah, for sure. And then what was it like to gettreated to to your hometown team? The Washington mister? Um I can't evenremember like how that opportunity came up, but as soon as my agent presentedit to me, I'm like, I'll take that, you know, like I said, I grew up once Ifinally like got hit to the W. N. B. A. Started falling in love with the game.Like the mistakes that was my team and being you know, being in D. C. Beingable to play in front of my family and my friends and have them watch my dreamplay out. That was That was cool. It was overwhelming at times to my ticketlist was like 30, 40 deep every game and I'm sure they were happy to get ridof me. Yeah. Yeah. I hear a lot about that when athletes play in theirhometown. Like it's like it's obviously there's a pros and cons everything butwith that with the tickets and then you have like kind of more pressure onYoutube because yeah, I mean because family and friends, you do want to beable to be like, hey, like to the game you supported me, you're part of thereason why I'm here. Like thanks for being behind me all this time. But onceyou start to understand the business of the game, it's like I need you allabout tickets like in order for me to do what I do and for us to like reallymake a living and you know, you know, give the investment in the game. Yougot to provide tickets. I can't give everybody free tickets all the time.Yeah, for sure. So this is your 11th season correct into it? Um So what has,like what are the, what are the changes you've seen since 2011 when youanswered to now in the W. N. B. A. Um I feel the biggest thing for me is likethe hype around the W. Especially this season, like with the jerseys andeverything, like the talent level is every year it's always better andbetter and better. But now like younger players marketing themselves in collegewhen they come to the league, they have this following this fan base, theybring this excitement to the game and it's bridging, you know that thattransition and I feel like that is what is definitely different from when Ifirst got in. Um Not to mention everybody gets their own room on theroad now and I'm happy about this. I...

...really am like I can't lie, I'm happyabout it. But the struggle of the first five years that I had to go throughwith a roommate being old as hell, having a roommate on the road. That'sjust sucked. But um yeah the new CIA is is dope in a lot of ways it's stilljust a baby step first step but a lot has changed because of that. Yeah,definitely. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like when you're a rookie you probablydidn't really care. But then when you got older and older you're like, thisis kind of weird. Yeah, I mean, but even then it's a shock like we'llprobably not. I mean still, I think it is, it's a shot going from college tothe w resource wise. I think it's the thing, you know, like it's not thisconsistent like you got private, you know, charter what you have, you know,like all this gear, all this, there's all this that like everything just kindof like handed to you. It's different in the resources that way. But um, it'sbetter. It's better. I noticed a lot of good happening this this season. Forsure. Yeah, for sure. I think a lot of people don't realize that either. Likethe, I guess the casual fan you say, uh and then just going on on your on thecourt, your career, you've pretty much been going up every season. So likewhat changes basically from the first half of your career to like now, butConnecticut, I feel like maybe that's that's probably when you took off, whenyou trade to Connecticut. Um Yeah, I think understanding the game better, uhI think something with women's players is we don't have that developmentaltransition. You know, we kind of just get thrown in and it's just this rawtalent that either transition is well into the game fast, especiallydepending on what kind of situation you go into, where, you know, you havecoaches and bets that are willing to groom you that have the time that, youknow, don't have the stress and the pressure on them to do. So when I wentinto the mistakes, I think there were six or seven rookies on our team thatyear, you know, it's like, that's hard, that's, it's hard to, to win in a leadlike this like that. So it just took some time to kind of find myself as apro um adjust to the game, let the game slow down. I was kind of uh known formy quickness. Everything I did was once we just fast, fast, fast and um playingoverseas to I think helped uh, you know, any weaknesses that I had over here, Itried to directly work on them overseas and come back better. Didn't want towaste my time over there. Every every opportunity to play for me was a way toget better. Um you know, it's the always find something. So you know,I've never arrived. I show up to every season, like, you know, kind of with atrip on my shoulder, like I, I want to make a statement, I want to assertmyself, I want to, you know, but I think that's just ultimately what itwas. Get comfortable. Yeah, for sure. And then you were named also in 2017.What did that mean to you? And then a lot. Um, just the things that I hadbeen through in my career, like you said, like being traded, um, you know,right off the rip, traded to uh, from Seattle to Washington and traded fromWashington to Atlanta in Atlanta to Connecticut. Like, you know, you, youwant to have a home base, you want to have a value where teams feel like theycan't trade you, they want, they need you there to win. So finally findingthat home in Connecticut, being able to, you know, not look over my shoulderknow that I was valued here and I wanted to be here and after all thathappened in my career for me to be all stars. Like, like yeah, I deserved that, you know,and I'm humbled a lot and I don't um I don't know, I don't really talk in thatway a lot, but that was a big deal for the type of player that I am and thingsthat have been said about me and the media and from team to team. Like yeah,I was the all star, not like that. And then yeah, you're named defensive, uh,first team for three years and and second team one year. Uh, so so wouldyou like defense a lot? I mean that's...

...that is the essence of my game evenfrom when I was a kid, like that was what was most natural for me wasdefense, I love to get steals, playing the open court, I love playing intransition and I just wanted the ball, like I was a nat for the ball, it waslike that, that's still kind of how I am, I feel like you can't play offensewithout the ball so why not play defense hard and get it back, you know?So yeah, that's a lot. Uh I know uh you guys been making strong runs like thepast few years, like what do you think we'll get you guys over the hump and towin the W. N. B. A. Championship? Um I mean obviously our team has changed ina lot of ways um brought in some pieces that, that are champions, you know,having to wanna Bonner, now, having Briann january, um having JJ back, youknow, we just, when we were able to do last year, given the craziness of thatbubble season and how our team dynamic had changed so much from the, you know,our championship are, you know, finals run uh Having JJ back is a big big dealand as you can see in our first two games like she's already kind ofimprinted herself and you can see like what we were missing. Yeah, for sure.Well what are your goals this season? Um Michael this season? Uh always make the playoffs as a team goal.Um that's like the for the one thing that's always on my mind, just makeplayoffs, make playoffs, make playoffs because it's like a new season once youget there and everything else changes, records don't matter, it's just adifferent ballgame. I definitely want to win a championship this year andjust individually, I mean I have to look, I'm not sure if there, if thereis another All star game. I would love to be an old star again. Um I thinkthat would be cool and just um I don't know, being efficient. I'm I'm older,you know, always gonna take that leadership role and grooming ouryounger players and um they're getting a lot of opportunities now and makingthe most of it, which is good. So just just being efficient, however much timeI'm out there, I want to make sure I I stand out with my energy, my effort andand have fun. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I feel like they should have just namedall star team last year even though they didn't like just like name. So Ithink that people get bonuses for that. That's it. But that's probably, I don'tknow, that's yeah, that's kind of uh it's actually funny because I don'tknow if, you know it kind of just happened um where MLB kind of took whatN. B. A. And W. N. B. Does and they named them like all MLB. Like theynever had that last year because of so they were just like that's a newaccolade. Yeah. So interesting. Have you gotten the chance to watch thedocumentary 1 44? Yeah, I watched it when it aired. So what were yourthoughts about? Um I thought it was incredible. I think you know while wemade a lot of statements and we made it know what we were playing for lastsummer I think to see it all come together and you know be put so clearlyand it was really really really well edited and I think it captured theessence of the season. I can feel myself kind of get all the emotionsthat I felt going through last season, just watching it, you know, leavinghome some of us not, haven't been home in our careers and haven't, you know,having that time to quarantine. Yeah, Covid sucked. But we're all of a suddenaround our family's home for the first time um and then making a decision toleave that to go to a bubble that we were unsure of during times of likeextreme racial injustice heightened to the extreme. It was like that was a lotto go through and we're resilient in the fact that we did it and it was like,it was up, y'all like we hear, you know, but when you really think about what wewere going through and the emotional like mental aspect of it, like I don'tever want to do that again, but I'm glad we accomplished um amplifying ourvoices and really making a statement...

...for like social injustice, for sure.That was the goal and we did that. Yeah, definitely. And then like what advicewould you give to a young athlete? Like trying to either get a scholarship oror make a pro league? Um I feel like, I don't know this is kindof typical, but like control what you can control. And I say that becausethat's everything. That's your energy, that's your effort. That's your yourtoughness, your your I. Q. Your intelligence of the game, Like everyaspect that you need to be successful at the next level, no matter if you'refive years old or 31 years old, like that's that's what it comes down to isall you can control is what you do and the work and the effort and the passionthat you put into it. You will get out of it. Um If you get caught up on onthe outcome all the time, uh, things aren't always going to go the way youwant. You know, and you've got to find a way to to push through it. Staymentally tough and and know that if you deserve it, it's gonna come for you. Ilike that. All right, ready for some fun questions. All right, thank you. Might know this.I'm from Connecticut. So what's your favorite thing about Connecticut?People love people from Connecticut, love to ask this question. I think thatlike that's the only people that ask that Yeah, this is probably going to be the cheesyanswer, but the fans, I feel like Connecticut is a women's basketballstate. So if you are lucky enough to play basketball here, you definitelyhave to support from them and now they're back in the arena, which iscool. Um Other than that in this area that we live in. I like the way we havelike these little beaches scattered around here. Um I like that. Have youbeen to New Haven and tried the pizza though? That's what everyone havinghave not. You got to me, No. You're gonna come down here. Do they delivercovid? We can. Yeah. No, no. People, people are sitting outside now. Okay. Imean, I actually can't come down there honestly. I just had to do my physicaland yeah. So I was even, oh, you should've stopping at some, I had tocome back and get on. Oh, yes. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. I'm not averagingtriple doubles, but I love just like the grit about it. No one is doing whathe's doing. I don't really like him a lot. And he's in he's in your hometownright now too. Um What about, what do you like to do in your free time freezeon every time? Pre covid? Yeah. How about pre covid? And then what what'slike new hobbies you picked up during Covid? Because I mean, I think everyonekinda did pretty good, but I like to hang outwith my friends whether or teammates, you know, just family, whoever. Butthat that's going to a bar during the day, like having food and, you know,just having a good time. I missed that. Like, you know, not having to wear amask 24 7, you know, I missed that. But now new hobbies like home decorated andtaking care of plants, cooking, baking, painting, anything you can think of?I'm trying it. I'm staying busy at the house. Yeah, for sure. Um What about,what is something people don't know about you? I would say that I would love to eat inmy bed and I know that sounds crazy, but a lot of people that know me orthink they know me, see me from the surface, whether it's instagram orinterviews or, you know, they meet me, I'm like, well put together, I'm, youknow, proper and whatever, but I have crumbs in my bed on the regular.Alright, well, that's, I mean, that's...

...funny because I don't like eating in mybed, so. Oh yeah. That Oh yeah, soon you again. Uh you got some tattoos,whatever they have. Um I have a few, like all over my body,honestly, but I got a libra symbol here, that's my zodiac sign. Um I got thispiece, which is the most significant thing. Um I lost my grandma uh, toCovid earlier in the year, um had to put my first dog down. So I have a dovehere for her. A couple other doves. Um For people I lost giraffe, favoriteanimal, uh some flour favorite flower. Kind of just put that piece together. Ilove it, love it, love it turned out good one started here that into that.Yeah, that's awesome piece. Thank you. Um last one I knew I forgot something.Um I know you just you literally just said it today. So um tell me about thethe good game foundation. Oh, so um kind of started with a guy named AdamMiller. And as you can see if you check it out. Bennie Fowler is also part ofit. Um It's basically, you know, we are starting with women's empowermentorganizations, but we will just um raise awareness, provide funds to, youknow, as grants to help them do their programming and make their impact. Um Idon't think it's been released yet, but one of the first organizations wereworking with is the women's being project out of Denver um and theybasically work to rehabilitate rehabilitate women after dealing withaddiction. So um it's just a cool way to kind of, you know, it's a pilotprogram right now, we're the only two athletes involved, but we're working onexpanding that and getting more people into it just to use our platforms to dowhat we really care about, which is making a difference in our community.Yeah, for sure. Well, I appreciate you coming on and could you let thelisteners know where they can follow you at? Um you can follow me oninstagram at at J. S. Z. Thomas. Um that's my handle on all platforms,honestly. So I'm one of those people that reply, So go ahead and yeah.Alright, well, again, I appreciate it. And best of luck this season. Thank you.Thanks for having me on. Mhm.

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