Jazmine Massengill Could Decide the Wildcats' Future

Grant Grubbsby:Grant Grubbs06/20/21


(UK Athletics | Eddie Justice)

There are pure point guards, and then there is Jazmine Massengill. The 6-foot senior is the embodiment of a playmaker. From her crafty drives to her delightful dishes, Massengill seemingly always finds a way to involve her teammates. With three of the Wildcats’ top four scorers returning next season for Kentucky WBB, Massengill will have the opportunity to be more effective than ever in her final year as a Wildcat.

After averaging 5.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game last season, Massengill solidified her key role for the blue and white. Coach Elzy obviously took notice. After not starting in her first 10 contests, Massengill started in nine of the final 10 games of the season. With Coach Elzy’s confidence spurring her forward, Massengill found her rhythm.

In her first game as a starter, Massengill lit up Tennessee for 11 points, her season-high in scoring. To follow up this impressive performance, Massengill dropped a whopping nine points and 11 assists against Florida. Although the Chatanooga, Tennessee native has proven to be an offensive threat, she has failed to consistently force defenses to respect her.

To be specific, Massengill put up eight shots or more only three times last season. During these three games, Massengill averaged 3.9 more points per game than her season average. As wild as this statistic is, someone else on the team is even more positively affected by Massengill’s increased confidence: Rhyne Howard.

While Massengill averaged a few more points per game during these three specific contests, Howard put up an insane 10 more points per game than her season average. Furthermore, the Wildcats averaged more points per game as a team during these three games. Simply put, the ‘Cats are better when Massengill is more confident.

So, how can Kentucky maximize the Massengill effect? To begin with, a widespread offense.

With the growth of Treasure Hunt and Howard’s ridiculous range, there’s no reason not to space the court. Massengill may not be Kentucky’s main scorer, but she needs to be the filter the Wildcats’ offense flows through. If Coach Elzy can implement this philosophy, the ‘Cats will find success.

Next, Massengill will have to shoulder some of the defensive load that once rested on Chasity Patterson’s shoulders. While there’s no doubt that Massengill is a solid defender, she certainly wasn’t recognized for having all-c0nference level clamps. Nonetheless, this will have to change. While Massengill will undoubtedly be able to create for her teammates in the halfcourt offense, she’ll be able to be even more effective in fastbreaks caused by steals and deflected passes.

Finally, Massengill must push the tempo. While Massengill’s improved statistics this season may be wonderful for herself, they may be even more vital to her teammates, as proven previously. In particular, Howard will benefit greatly from being able to find one-on-one situations against an unset defense, instead of relying on a halfcourt offense. Of course, these sorts of opportunities will only be created if Massengill pushes the pace of the game.

Massengill won’t be the best player on the team next season, but she may have the greatest effect on the best player. However, Howard won’t be the only person relying on Massengill’s crafty abilities to bring the team success. In fact, all of Big Blue Nation will be looking to the tenacious guard for leadership. Massengill will not only be the key facilitator of the team’s buckets, but their victories, too.

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