Wright City senior Jasmin Simpson is looking to finish her senior basketball season strong, with the end goal of continuing her athletic career in college.
A two-sport varsity athlete, Simpson stars on the Wright City basketball and volleyball teams. She started playing both sports in middle school.
Simpson has played on the varsity basketball team since her freshman year. She said she would not be the basketball player she is today without the help of her father. He would take her to the gym and they would practice together when she started playing basketball.
“I guess you could say I’ve always been in that environment,” Simpson said. “My whole family has always been basketball fans. And then as I got older, I was like I might as well try it out. So I did. And then I grew a love for it.”
Simpson is leading the Lady Wildcats on the court this season under first-year coach Dustin Elledge. Simpson is one of four players in Missouri to average over 20 points per game. She is averaging over 21 points and seven rebounds per game this season. She also averaged over 20 points per game last season.
Simpson cites her confidence shooting the basketball as a big change this season from previous seasons.
“I would never shoot the ball. I was too scared to,” Simpson said. “This year, I finally grew some confidence to start shooting.”
With Simpson’s height and ball handling ability, she plays both in the post and on the outside of the offense and defense, depending on the team’s needs. Simpson has traditionally played in the post and is starting to play on the outside more this season.
“I would say the challenge is mostly playing up top because I’m not really used to it,” Simpson said. “I’ve always been in the post. I feel like it’s not really difficult. It’s just like either shoot, drive, post up.”
Simpson noted the challenges in playing for three different head coaches in her four years at Wright City. She played for Dan Friedel her first two years at Wright City. Friedel was one of Simpson’s favorite coaches. The Lady Wildcats were coached last season by Abby Modaff before Elledge took the helm of the program this season.
“With Coach Elledge, he’s putting out a new Wright City basketball,” Simpson said. “It’s different. It’s working so far.”
Elledge stressed the benefits of having a player like Simpson who is multidimensional and able to contribute in many ways. Simpson’s versatility allows the Wright City defense to do multiple things and move the ball in different places for different looks.
Elledge said Simpson has been a big part of Wright City’s success this season. Elledge noted he saw Simpson’s progression over her high school career from afar for the past three years. Elledge was on the Van-Far coaching staff before taking the Wright City job this season.
“Coaching against her the last three years, kind of seeing the same thing,” Elledge said. “Seeing how she’s progressed each year, getting better. She’s always been doing the same thing.”
Simpson and fellow senior Katie Schanuel have provided senior leadership to the Wright City basketball team this season.
“It definitely helps having them to show players other drills and skills,” Elledge said. “That’s almost like having a second or third coach out with you kind of helping get things going in the right direction.”
Wright City started the season on a four-game winning streak and earned six wins in their first 10 games. The Lady Wildcats are showing more offensive balance this season. Danika Graham and Kaedyn Johnson both average about five points per game this season. Simpson was the only Wright City player last season to average more than four points per game.
“I just hope to see my team grow individually and grow more confident with themselves,” Simpson said. “They are definitely all good ball players. They just need to grow their confidence to show they can do it.”
Simpson also starred for the Wright City volleyball team this past season. Simpson led Wright City with 146 kills and 36 aces this past season. Wright City won nine matches this past season, their most since 2019.
Although her future plans are unclear, Simpson is looking to go to college and compete in basketball or volleyball at the collegiate level. She is open to participating in both sports in college.
“I don’t know what my future holds yet,” Simpson said. “I’m far behind on that one. So I don’t know. But I do want to continue my athletic career. I just don’t know what it would be for, basketball or volleyball.”
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