Taking it to the rim
Alyssa Jerome on repping Team Canada and Stanford in basketball
“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