Oct. 3, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Jasmine Phillips' change of plans for the next step in her basketball career was unexpected. She's grateful, however, for how things have turned out.
The 5-foot-10 Louisburg (N.C.) College transfer had originally set her sights on playing for North Carolina, before opting to call Tennessee home.
"It was just God opening up doors for me and making another home for me," Phillips said. "It's what he saw for where I needed to be, so I'm just thankful that this door has opened up for me for a better opportunity."
The Hartsville, S.C., native was head coach Holly Warlick's first signed recruit. She helped lead the Lady Hurricanes to a 31-2 record before they fell in the semifinals of the NJCAA Division II national tournament last season. She averaged 16.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals during an All-America season.
Phillips stepped foot on campus this summer to get acclimated with the Big Orange before the school year.
"Being here in the summer and starting then, I got a feel of campus," Phillips said. "I started playing pick up and started doing individual stuff. Everything is coming together now and being here in the summer really helped."
Although Phillips had a shining freshman season at Louisburg College, some things can't prepare you for UT's strength and conditioning coach, Heather Mason.
"It was really just a surprise," Phillips said. "To keep going and be with your teammates, they're there encouraging you. Heather on the sideline encouraging you, trying to give you different techniques to get through the next obstacle. I'm thankful that we're doing this stuff because it's going to help us down the line."
The Lady Vols will showcase their hard work when they kick off the season Nov. 1 at home with an exhibition game against Carson-Newman College.