Hoskins’ balancing act

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Long before the sun has started to shine on this typical Wednesday, Nicholls State senior forward Jasmine Hoskins is stirring in her dorm room bed, stretching in anticipation of her day.

The roosters are still in their slumber and even the earliest of the early risers are likely cozily asleep as Hoskins’ stretching turns into the full shebang and she lifts her 5-foot, 11-inch frame from her mattress and places her feet on the floor to officially begin her journey.

“I typically get up at 4 a.m.,” Hoskins said of her hump-day obstacles. “Wednesday’s are tough, but they are do-able.”

Hoskins is no insomniac – she’ll be the first to admit she loves to sleep as much as any college student.

Nor is she a procrastinator merely waking up early to catch up on last-minute work – she’s on top of her books, having been named to the Southland Conference’s All-Academic team in her career.

The Nicholls senior is a nursing student trying to make a career providing care to sick children.

On this particular day that dream carries a lofty challenge – a 17-plus-hour slate that includes both clinicals and a critical late-season basketball game that the Colonels have to win to keep pace in the conference race.

No biggie. It’s just another day in the life for the Colonels’ senior.

She’s just living the dream.

“There is nothing in this life that I love more than children,” Hoskins said, smiling brightly at the thought of her future career. “I just want to be able to help them day-in and day-out. … When I go to clinicals this year, I honestly don’t feel like it’s work.

“It’s hard, sometimes, yes. But this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Juggling nursing and hoops – the constant balancing act

Flash back to this particular Wednesday.

From the 4 a.m. wake-up, Hoskins is ready to walk out the door.

Again, the sun is nowhere to be found, still several minutes from its daily debut.

“I leave my house at 4:45 or so,” she said. “From there, I head to Chabert. Clinicals get started at 6.”

Like other nursing students at this stage in their curriculum, Hoskins has clinicals a couple times a week, each day carrying its own challenge.

Currently, Hoskins is in pediatrics and is working with children. Her daily responsibilities are almost identical as those of registered nurses.

“We do everything that the regular nurse does,” she said. “She just has to sign behind us. I’m literally certain patients’ nurse for the day.”

Unlike other nursing students, Hoskins also has a second full-time focus: basketball.

Because of mandatory attendance at clinicals, the senior has to miss practice a couple times a week.

Colonels coach DoBee Plaisance said that’s OK with her, adding she’d never deprive a player from chasing an academic dream while under scholarship in the program.

“We’re so very, very proud of her efforts,” Plaisance said. “It has been quite the juggle and Jasmine has had to work it out with professors and practice and everything. But on our side of it, we always put the student before the athlete.”

Probably why Plaisance is so willing to accommodate her senior is the effort Hoskins has made to create a workable situation for both nursing and round-ball.

The coach said Hoskins never allows herself to be behind – a situation she said boosts the senior’s status in the locker room.

“She’s been coming in and getting extra work in. She’s been coming in and getting extra running in,” Plaisance said. “It’s a lot and it’s very taxing on her, but we do appreciate her efforts. She’s a testament to those here and others who will come here that nothing is too large to overcome. Being a registered nurse is a dream of hers and the effort she’s shown to make this a reality is an inspiration of the things that can be done with hard work.”

But the situation isn’t always so cozy and Hoskins admits there are several challenges that prop up along the way.

On road trips, teammates are able to enjoy bonding and can spend time cutting up amongst one another in their hotel rooms.

Hoskins’ nose is usually in a book, trying to keep up with class work.

“She’s always studying, no matter where we are,” sophomore guard KK Babin said. “Dinner, on the bus, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes, you see her at practice and are surprised because you’ll expect to see Jasmine studying over there.”

Once home and when free time is to be had, teammates and friends go out and enjoy normal college lives.

Hoskins again is bunkered in her dorm with book in-hand and notebook by her side.

She says “being a nerd” is a difficult life to lead, but added that she draws inspiration from her heroes, mother Cassandra Hoskins and her baby sister Breauja, who give her the energy she needs to keep pushing.

“I want to make them proud,” she said.

From there, she admits she secretly doesn’t mind the “nerdy” way of living.

“Being a nerd like this is sometimes very boring, but I love it because I absolutely love learning,” Hoskins said with a laugh. “I don’t like tests at all. I don’t like sitting in class for eight hours on a given day. But I love understanding and love knowing things.

“I love when one of my random teammates like KK Babin can come up to me and ask me an important question and I’m actually able to answer her. That makes me feel really good.”

On the basketball side, Hoskins said she is able to keep pushing because of her dad James Hoskins, who she said texts her consistently before and after every game.

“He’s the person who pushed me to play basketball and he’s my strongest supporter in the sport,” Hoskins said. “Without all of them, I wouldn’t be here today.”

The day’s completion – Nicholls’ toughest post

Clinicals are finally over on this given Wednesday and Hoskins is finally free – sort of.

She’s been on her feet for more than 10 hours and has now been awake for 12 hours and 30 minutes.

“They last until 4:30 p.m.,” she says. “From 6-to-4:30.”

But while her classmates scurry to their rooms for rest and relaxation, Hoskins’ day is just getting started.

The Colonels have a 6:30 p.m. tipoff scheduled against conference foe Stephen F. Austin on this day. She needs to hurry herself back to Thibodaux to get ready to play.

“I have to get back here to warm up,” she said. “I usually get back here around 5 or 5:15. Long story short, I have about an hour before the game starts.”

For most players, not having a peaceful routine would be detrimental to on-court success.

To Hoskins, her controlled chaos is all part of the plan.

She plays with that same chaotic mentality.

The Colonels’ forward is the team’s most steady post player, averaging 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

“She’s been the most consistent post player,” Plaisance said. “She is the most visible true post on our team.”

But what statistics don’t measure is toughness, and Hoskins provides the Colonels with loads of that.

Because she’s somewhat undersized in the paint, Hoskins said she takes a bruising down-low for her teammates.

The senior’s knees and arms are consistently decorated purple with bruises.

She even sports a battle wound from a practice showdown – a slowly fading black eye from an accidental blow she absorbed from a teammate.

Don’t let the nursing pedigree and the caring personality fool you.

She’ll give a lick or two back without hesitation.

“No mercy,” she said quickly when asked about her playing style. “I’m not too prideful, but I definitely don’t believe in someone running over me and I take that very personally on the court.

“If I get elbowed or if I take a shot, the next time down, she’s going to feel it. I don’t play dirty, but I play strong.”

“She’s not one of, she is the most physical player we have,” Babin added. “She’s just super tough. She has that, ‘You get me, I’m going to get you back,’ attitude. She has that grit. If someone gets her good once, they better get ready. They are getting it dished back and 10 times over.”

“She doesn’t take anything out there on the floor, that’s for sure,” Plaisance said in agreement with a chuckle. “She doesn’t put up with a whole lot down there, I can assure you. But for a post, that’s a good thing.”

Finishing the dream and pushing for Southland glory


This Wednesday’s game is now over. The clock is grinding closer to 9 p.m.

Hoskins has now been active for 17-straight hours.

Nicholls just polished off a thrilling shootout with Stephen F. Austin. The post player did her part in the win. She scored just 2 points, but made countless intangible plays, keeping opposing post players off the glass – something that cannot be underestimated in a 1-point win.

The win was the 13th of the season for the Colonels, which has a full-circle effect on the now fully exhausted senior.

Nicholls won just 13 combined games in Hoskins’ first three seasons, posting 2-win, 3-win and 8-win seasons.

This year, the Colonels are rewriting school record books and appear set to make a run at the Southland Conference title.

Hoskins said the difference this year is something she’s learned all about in her medical curriculum – chemistry.

“My last two years, we had just as much, if not more talent than we do now,” she said. “But this year, we just all have one another’s back. That is the difference. That is why we are doing what we’re doing.”

With a couple games to go in her career, Hoskins said the mission wouldn’t be fully complete without a Southland Conference Championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

She cites close losses to conference leaders Central Arkansas and McNeese State as proof the goal can be accomplished.

“They can all be beaten,” Hoskins said. “And we have what it takes to be the ones to do it.”

If it happens, it’d be a doubly historic feat for the Colonels senior.

With graduation looming in approximately a year, Hoskins said she doesn’t know if any women’s basketball player in school history has ever completed the nursing program.

Plaisance didn’t have a definitive answer, but added “very few student athletes in the entire school,” had completed the program.

That’s enough motivation to keep Hoskins going.

It’s what keeps the alarm buzzing at 4 a.m. a couple times a week.

“Every, single time I step on this floor, it’s like I’m doing something that everyone else labeled as something that could never be accomplished,” Hoskins said. “That’s just awesome to me. That keeps me going. That is such a huge motivator to me.

“I’m excited to finish this season strong. I’m ready to finish strong.”


Nicholls State senior forward Jasmine Hoskins takes a blow to
the face during a game this season.