Tak­ing it to the rim

Alyssa Jerome on rep­ping Team Canada and Stan­ford in bas­ket­ball

Annex Post - - CURRENTS - By Darcy Stre­it­en­feld

“Re­cruit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties kept com­ing up, and here I am.”

At 18 years old, Alyssa Jerome stands at a tow­er­ing six feet, two inches, and while she was al­ways tall for her age and had a nat­u­ral knack for all things sporty, she never imag­ined she’d be rid­ing a bas­ket­ball schol­ar­ship all the way to Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity.

“I def­i­nitely thought I would go to uni­ver­sity in Canada and fol­low the same path as my friends, but re­cruit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties kept com­ing up, and here I am,” says the hum­ble fresh­man.

Jerome, al­ways the keen and stu­dious type, never strug­gled in school. In fact, she ex­celled in nearly every sub­ject. Through­out her time at Har­bord Col­le­giate, her worst grades never even dipped be­low 80 per cent.

In Grade 4 she be­gan play­ing bas­ket­ball at school, just for fun. Later, when her ap­ti­tude be­came ob­vi­ous, she moved to the Albany Av­enue Bas­ket­ball Academy pro­gram and played other sim­i­lar teams through­out north Toronto. Jerome also played soc­cer and volleyball and par­tic­i­pated in the ath­letic coun­cil and sci­ence clubs.

It wasn’t long be­fore Jerome tried out for big­ger teams like Team On­tario and even Team Canada.

“Mak­ing it on such large na­tional teams was sur­prise min­gled with val­i­da­tion for all my hard work pay­ing off,” she says.

Jerome has made Canada proud at four sep­a­rate In­ter­na­tional Bas­ket­ball Fed­er­a­tion tour­na­ments (FIBA), in­clud­ing help­ing Canada win sil­ver at the 2016 FIBA Amer­i­cas Tour­na­ment in Chile as part of the Un­der-18 team.

“I’ve had so many great ex­pe­ri­ences. Wav­ing a Cana­dian flag on the win­ners podium at a FIBA tour­na­ment was one of the best,” she says.

With all of her un­de­ni­able suc­cess, both on the court and off, it wasn’t sur­pris­ing that uni­ver­sity re­cruiters came knock­ing.

“The com­bi­na­tion of strong aca­demics and an equally strong bas­ket­ball pro­gram [at Stan­ford] was very, very im­por­tant to me,” she says. “I liked the fact that, even af­ter I had been re­cruited, I still had to go through the same ap­pli­ca­tion process as ev­ery­one else. If it wasn’t for my grades, I wouldn’t have been ac­cepted.”

Jerome is only in her fresh­man year at Stan­ford and is a proud for­ward for the Stan­ford Car­di­nal. She has yet to choose a ma­jor but is lean­ing to­ward the life sciences, pos­si­bly hu­man bi­ol­ogy or even the pre-med track. The Women’s Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion may be a pipe dream for some, but for Jerome, it seems pos­si­ble. Al­though, it never hurts to have “doc­tor” as your backup plan.

For now, she looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing her bas­ket­ball and aca­demic ca­reer at Stan­ford.

“Over­all, it’s been a great sea­son so far. We strug­gled a bit in the be­gin­ning of the sea­son but have turned a cor­ner, and we’re ready for the up­com­ing fi­nals.”

Look out for this tal­ented young woman. Next, she may be rep­re­sent­ing Team Canada at the Olympics — her ul­ti­mate dream.

Jerome won sil­ver at the 2016 FIBA Amer­i­cas Tour­na­ment in Chile

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