For someone who, just a few years ago admits she didn't even like basketball, Jazmin Birch has become pretty darn good at it. 

Birch, a 5-foot-11 guard from College Beliveau, has committed to head coach Alyssa Cox and the Winnipeg Wesmen women's basketball team as a member of the 2023 recruiting class.

She joins River East Collegiate's Jen Kallon as the first two members of the '23 class. 

Similar to Kallon, Birch has enjoyed an accelerated accent in a sport she said she really only turned seriously towards in 2019.

"Not until 2019 is when I actually started getting into it and showing an interest, but before that I didn't really care for it," she said. "My mom pushed me to go to practices more, go to games and I think my love for the sport just grew from there. My mom has had a huge influence on me."

Birch, who was a member of the 2022 U17 provincial program that went to nationals in Quebec, played club basketball for Mayhem prior to COVID hitting the province. She joined the TAP program in 2021 and it wasn't long after that she began thinking maybe there was space to go further in the game.

"(2021), it was like, 'Oh, ok.' I see other people pursuing the sport and I could see myself getting into it," she said. "I didn't really always see myself going after high school. If I told myself I would be a couple years ago, I'd say there's no way. But then I realized this is something I can do."

Birch's travels with last summer's provincial team proved fruitful for her on the recruiting trail. Coaches were in contact and the options were plentiful as she looked to pursue her next step in the sport. 

She averaged 10.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game at the national tournament, including a standout performance against Nova Scotia where she scored 17 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and added three steals and three blocks. 

Cox believes the Wesmen have found an up-and-coming talent with her best days still ahead.

"We are very excited to welcome Jasmin to our Wesmen program. She plays with great energy, and shows an innate ability to rebound the ball and create scoring looks for herself on the offensive glass," Cox said. "Jaz is a student of the game who is always looking to improve. She has just scratched the surface of her potential and we are looking forward to watching her grow her game with our program."

Beliveau coach Duncan Paterson praised not only Birch's athletic ability but her influence off the court, as well. 

"I don't think you could ask for a better person to be part of the University of Winnipeg student community," he said. "Teachers and students alike adore her, and rightfully so. She's been a great role model for every student at College BÊliveau, especially for athletes who have dreams of getting to the next level.

"Jazmin has put in countless hours of work, in practice and on her own, developing skills, seeking out challenges, and constantly pushing herself to a higher level. She's always been a great athlete, but there's no question It was her work ethic and dedication that has taken her to the level she's at now. I know that work ethic will continue at the University of Winnipeg and she'll be a great player there for years to come."

Source: https://wesmen.ca/


SUMMER 2022 MANITOBA PROVINCIAL TEAM PROFILE

TEAM 

17U Female

NAME

Jazmin Birch

HOMETOWN

Winnipeg

POSITION

Forward

PRESENT AGE

17

YEARS IN BASKETBALL

3 years

SCHOOL PRESENTLY ATTENDING

Ecole Beliveau

SCHOOL ATTENDING THIS FALL

Ecole Beliveau

BASKETBALL CLUB NAME

TAP Manitoba 

FAVOURITE PLAYER & TEAM

Kelsey Plum from Las Vegas Aces and Fred Vanvleet from Toronto Raptors

SUMMER GOALS

Improving my long-range shooting and IQ

BASKETBALL ASPIRATIONS

To go as far as I possibly can go within the sport 

BIGGEST BASKETBALL INFLUENCE

My coaches 

AFTER HIGH SCHOOL

Start University and continue to play on a university team 

WHEN BASKETBALL CAREER IS OVER

I love to play pro but if that doesn't work out I want to be a lawyer or an environmental scientist 

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