It’s beginning to sound almost certain that Jazmine Massengill will gain immediate eligibilty in the coming days.
According to The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach and Chantel Jennings, the Divison I Council is expected to approve a blanket waiver this coming Wednesday that would grant immediate eligibility for ALL college basketball transfers to play in the 2020-21 season. It was originally reported back on Dec. 3 by The Stadium’s Jeff Goodman that the DI Council would vote to approve the blanket waiver on Dec. 16. (which is this coming Wednesday). Massengill is directly listed in the article by The Athletic as one of the key transfers who would benefit from this approval.
As we've been expecting since the Goodman report, it once again sounds like Jazmine Massengill should be eligible this Wednesday.
No. 9 Kentucky WBB will add a former five-star point guard with 2 years of SEC experience. Huge news. https://t.co/tQiduz8BZC
— Zack Geoghegan (@ZGeogheganKSR) December 12, 2020
For the Kentucky Women’s Basketball Team, this is even more confirmation that Massengill, who transferred from Tennessee over the spring but was initially denied her immediate eligibility waiver, will be available to suit up and play once the Council votes on the matter. According to Auerbach and Jennings, student-athletes who have transferred and are hoping to be granted the blanket waiver only need to meet two criteria: “enrolled full-time in the fall 2020 semester and this is the first time they have transferred from a four-year institution.” Massengill meets both of those, as she joined the team back in April and spent her first two college seasons with the Volunteers.
I’ve mentioned it before, but the addition of Massengill is huge news for the program. Standing at an even 6-feet tall, the native of Chatanooga, TN started in 30 of the 31 games she appeared in as a sophomore last season and was a key contributor in her first year. Massengill has been close friends with two current Kentucky players, Rhyne Howard and Treasure Hunt, dating back to their high school/AAU days down in Tennessee.
Assistant coach Amber Smith told the media during the pre-Marshall press conference earlier this week that Massengill has been participating in every practice and goes through the motions on a daily basis as if she were already playing regular-season games.
“Jaz (Jazmine Massengill) is in every practice, and she’s been doing workouts with me individually,” Coach Smith said on Tuesday. “So Jaz is in shape and she is ready to go if that happens [she is deemed eligible], but we make sure we are preparing all of our players. Even before we got the word before Olivia (Owens) or Robyn (Benton) were eligible to play immediately, we made them go through practice just like any other player.”
Massengill’s presence would help shore up the one area that Kentucky has a notable weakness at: backup point guard. First-year point guard Erin Toller is still adapting to the college game while Kameron Roach is trying to reestablish her groove after sitting out all of last season with an injury. In terms of trustworthy ball handlers, Howard and senior point guard Chasity Patterson are the most reliable, with Blair Green and Dre’Una Edwards also capable of running the offense. But once Patterson takes a seat, it would be beneficial for the ‘Cats if Howard could continue to play in a scoring role as opposed to a point guard role, with Massengill soaking up those backup point guard minutes.
It’s still early enough in the season that Massengill could theoretically take the floor without much rust. She’s been around the team all offseason long, knows the system, and has two years of SEC experience. A former five-star recruit, Massengill is plenty talented and could feasibly play 20-plus productive minutes from the moment she steps on the hardwood.
“Jaz is a really good leader,” Smith added. “She brings it every single day, she knows her jobs right now, and one of her roles is to help her teammates get better in practice right now, so she has bought into that, and I think she will be great leader us, so she is adding to our team every single day.”
Kentucky’s next game is this coming Sunday against Samford with a road matchup against No. 24 DePaul on Wednesday, Dec. 16. It’s hard to say if Massengill would be eligible to play in that ranked game against the Blue Demons, as the vote is expected to come sometime during game day. Kentucky will travel to Chicago to take on DePaul with tipoff slated for 3 p.m., so it might be too tight of a window to squeeze Massengill into the lineup. But either way, it’s beginning to sound inevitable that she’ll be ready to suit up on Dec. 19 against Wofford in a tuneup game before the SEC schedule gets rolling.
The No. 9 team in the nation is about to get even better.