Guard travels, seizes golden opportunity
Georgia native finds promise in California
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 15:02
Searching for a fresh start, Comet forward Jeannay Washington traveled across the country to Contra Costa College from her home state of Kentucky.
Joining Washington was her friend of now five years, guard Jewel Rogers, who dropped everything and made the move to California to seize an opportunity that was not available for her at home.
“I think California is beautiful,” Rogers said. “When I first (arrived) here my eyes got big. (I noticed) there were a lot more opportunities out here that aren’t in Kentucky.
“I can do a lot out here — there are jobs, there’s basketball and school,” she said. “I love basketball and if I can get what I need to achieve my goals through (the sport) then I’m going to go for it.”
Originally from Decatur, Ga., Rogers moved to Kentucky, which is where she met Washington while both were attending Bluegrass Technical and Community College in Lexington.
The two met in the laundry room at an apartment complex where they lived — they have been friends ever since.
“We have things in common,” Washington said. “We understand what (one another) have gone through and we uplift each other. Her personality makes her stand out. She’s goofy, yet laid back and a little bit quiet. She’s a fun person to be around.”
Although Rogers loves the game of basketball, the 22-year-old kinesiology major said her ultimate goal is to own her own beauty shop. She plans on eventually attending cosmetology and barber school. In the meantime she does her friends’ hair as a hobby.
Other than hairdressing, school and basketball Rogers said she likes to be at home with her 3-year-old daughter Kenyari “Yari” Rogers and her roommate, Comet guard Brittany Gandy.
“We’ve lived together since a month after she came (to California),” Gandy said. “She’s like my big sister.”
On the court, Rogers was the offensive focal point for the Comets this season. The freshman guard finished the season ranked 16th in the state in scoring average with a Bay Valley Conference leading 16.8 points per game.
In eight of the 21 games she played in Rogers scored over 20 points, her season high being the 36 points she dropped in a 105-70 shellacking of Yuba College on Jan. 4.
“There’s not much she can’t do,” women’s basketball coach Paul DeBolt said. “She’s athletic, fast and she has a nice (jump) shot. I’ve been around long enough to tell within minutes how good a player is. She has all the tools to be a great player at this level.”
DeBolt is the only women’s basketball coach CCC has had since the team was re-established in 1986.
“(Coach DeBolt and I) have a good relationship,” Rogers said. “I think he thinks I get mad when he (chastises) me but I don’t. He’s the best coach I’ve ever had. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything — it’s tough love.
“If he were to leave I don’t think I would be able to return,” she said. “He’s a great person and coach.”
DeBolt said other than the occasional lapse in focus during games, Rogers ranks with some of the best players he has coached during his 27 years at CCC.
“She’s such a gifted player,” he said. “We’ve had (gifted athletes) in this program before and skill-wise she fits that group.”
DeBolt said Rogers has progressed through the course of the season and a key in her development was the emergence of guard Allyson Roberts. Roberts’ improved play at point guard allowed Rogers to focus more on her role as a scorer.
“I’ve been working (to improve) all season,” Roberts said. “I just picked it up. (At one point) everyone was trying to do too much by themselves — I just got people involved.”
Roberts said her willingness to involve everyone on the court enabled her teammates to focus on their individual roles.
“(Rogers) is looking to score first, which is fine because we need someone like her on the team.”
Rogers admits that playing professional basketball is not her ultimate goal. She does plan on transferring to a four-year college.
Her plan is to use the sport as a catalyst to meet her educational goals and achieve success, ensuring the wellbeing of her and her daughter.