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Joliet Catholic's Jasmine Lumpkin (center) takes the ball down court against Bolingbrook's Aysia Bugg (left) and Destiny Harris during their basketball game at the Thanksgiving tournament in Pontiac Monday, November 12, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Med

Joliet Catholic’s Jasmine Lumpkin knew where she wanted to play in college.

As the junior forward figured, why wait for her senior season?

Lumpkin has verbally committed to play basketball for Michigan State.

“I really wanted to play in the Big Ten conference, and I really liked what Michigan State offered academically and athletically,” Lumpkin said. “In that conference, every game is a battle with no easy outs. The coaching staff is supportive, and the school itself, I liked everything about it.”

Following her sophomore season, Lumpkin transferred from Montini to Joliet Catholic, instantly putting the Angels on the map.

A 6-foot junior forward, she averaged 17.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in helping Joliet Catholic to a 24-5 season. The Angels won the program’s first regional title since the 2006 season.

Lumpkin narrowed her choices to Michigan State, Louisville and Purdue.

“The recruiting process was pretty crazy, but I felt like Michigan State was the best fit for me,” Lumpkin said. “It was hard to make that decision, but Michigan State kept popping up in my head.”

With Lumpkin, sophomore to-be Nicole Ekhomu (16.1 points, 3.5 steals) and a strong returning core expected to return next season, the future looks bright for Joliet Catholic. Now, Lumpkin can key in on playing.

“It feels good to have chosen, almost like a stress relief,” Lumpkin said. “I can just focus on basketball, getting better, working in the gym and hopefully taking a shot at the state championship.”

Joliet Catholic coach Ed Schodrof knows the caliber of player Michigan State is getting.

“Jasmine can walk in and play as a freshman,” Schodrof said. “She can fill a role on the wing that they need.”

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