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Former Bull goes pro overseas

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 01:01

Former women’s basketball player and guard Jasmine Wynne accepted an offer to play basketball in Israel last fall for the Elizur Holon team.

But little could prepare her for the experience she would face.

Excited about the prospect of traveling overseas, Wynne, who played for the Bulls from 2008-12, accepted the offer last September and began playing in November,
despite her distaste of flying.

“I feel like since USF is so multicultural here it helped me to adapt better,” she said.

She stayed in a condo in Tel Aviv with other American
basketball players and tried to immerse herself in Israeli culture.

But nothing, she said, could prepare her for hearing and seeing bombs fall amid the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Sirens would go off at night, and Wynne and her American
housemates would have a matter of minutes to get to a “safe house,” where they were provided with temporary refuge.

“It was crazy,” Wynne said. “I never experienced anything like that before.”

But the backdrop wasn’t the only change she had to get used to.

Coming from fast-paced, Big East college ball, the transition in game play to the next level
overseas is what Wynne described as “slow-paced.”

In her last season as a Bull, Wynne proved to be a key part of the offense.

As a senior, she was named Big East’s Most Improved player while and placed second in the
conference in steals with 81.

So far in Israel, she has started on the court for the first seven games of the season, averaging 6.9 points per game with 2.3 rebounds.

Wynne said she was surprised to learn that the teams in Israel rely more on European players than American players, and are limited to four Americans per team.

“You would think that they would depend on their
Americans, but the coaches I had relied on their Israelis, so
sometimes you just sit back and wonder ‘Why am I here?’” Wynne said. “Overseas is a tough job market.”

Three other Americans are on team Elizur Holon, but that didn’t seem to affect her position as a starter as she played in the first seven games of the season.

But with a new team, new scenery and new obstacles to overcome, some of Wynne’s old troubles came back.

An injury that first occurred in her sophomore season as a Bull and ended her Big East season halfway through was an ACL tear. In the fifth game of this season against Hapoel Rishon Lezion, Wynne unknowingly tore her ACL again, sending her back to Tampa for rehab.

Playing for Hapoel Rishon Lezion during that game was former USF player Jessica Lawson who played with Wynne during that season.

Though the injury to her ACL may affect Wynne’s possibility for playing with Elizur Holon, but it won’t stop Wynne from playing basketball.

“I probably won’t go back to Israel, but I’ll go back and play for another country,” Wynne said. “I definitely want to get back on the court for the next overseas season.”

Currently, Wynne is back in Tampa to rehabilitate her knee.

“I don’t miss the papers and study hall, but as far as the environment I miss it,” she said. “I still feel like a part of the Bulls’ family.”

Wynne is also having fun as a fan of the Bulls.

She’s been spotted in the stands at the past two Big East home games in the Sun Dome, incluing Tuesday night’s game against Cincinnati as USF earned its first conference win of the season.

“They’re great, they had those two Big East losses, but I feel like we have a lot of talent out there
especially with the underclassmen.” Wynne said. “They’re going to be really good.”

While Wynne anticipates good things for the team as they move deeper in conference play when they take on Villanova on the road this Saturday at 2 p.m., she feels nostalgic about her home team.

“I feel a lot of love here and feel really appreciated,” Wynne said. “I would come back if I could.”

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