2012 grad signs professionally in Iceland
HARTSVILLE S.C. – Coker College alumna Jasmine Alston is headed to Iceland to fulfill her lifelong dream of being a professional basketball player. Alston, a 2012 graduate, has accepted an offer to be a player-coach for FSu Selfoss in the Iceland Division I league.
"Two weeks after my senior season ended at Coker, I knew that I didn't want my basketball career to be over," said Alston. "I remember coach Jenny and coach Vic telling me they knew it wasn't over yet. My heart believed them, but my mind wasn't fully believing it."
Alston, 23, is a 5-foot-5-inch guard originally from Sumter, S.C. She is currently living in Fludir, Iceland, where she will coach youth basketball for girls ages 12-16 while playing for FSu. Her playing season began Oct. 12.
After graduating in 2012 with a degree in communications, Alston worked as an intern in the sports information department at Duke University for the summer. After that, she returned home to Sumter, where she coached the Sumter High JV girls' basketball team.
It was around that time she got a call from former teammate and current junior Heidrun Kristmundsdottir about playing basketball in Iceland. Kirstmundsdottir is a native of Iceland and had some connections to FSu, which helped Alston begin negotiations.
"I didn't get my hopes up, because I didn't want my heart to be broken," Alston said. "I continued to work out like before and continued to receive good news about the move to Iceland through Heidrun. Eventually, the representative for FSu in Iceland got in contact with me and we got the paperwork done."
While excited for the opportunity, Alston was apprehensive about having to relocate to another country.
"There was a little piece of me that was very scared to make such a big move," said Alston. "I live in Sumter and went to college in Hartsville. I wouldn't consider that a transition at all, but I knew I wasn't letting a huge blessing like this one pass me by just because I was afraid of being homesick."
Alston was a three-year starter and two-year captain for Coker. She holds the school record for most points scored in a single basketball game by an individual from the time she poured in 47 against Lees-McRae College on Feb. 26, 2011.
"I am so proud of Jazz," said Coker women's basketball coach Jenny Finora. "It was her dream to go overseas, and she is living her dream. She was always a great leader and hard worker for us. I have no doubt that, with her work ethic, she will have a very successful professional basketball career."
Alston, who was known for her persistence and determination on and off the court while at Coker, will now embark on a journey that will demand nothing less than those two attributes she personified during her days as a Cobra.
"A dream only becomes reality when you stop dreaming," Alston said. "I never gave up on my dream, but I had to stop dreaming and do something about it."
Story written by sports information intern Sharod Williams '13.