O'FALLON — Just when Jasmine Bonds thought her future was secure and she was headed to Eastern Kentucky University to play college basketball, she received an offer she couldn't refuse.
A two-time all-Southwestern Conference player at O'Fallon High School during the past two years, Bonds will sign a national letter of intent Thursday to attend Murray State University in Murray, Ky.
"Eastern Kentucky was nice. I just like Murray State more. It's a place where I can get a great education and a place where I can keep improving as a basketball player,'' Bonds said. "When I made my visit, I loved it. The campus is beautiful and the coaching staff made me feel like they really wanted me to be a part of their program.
"I'm totally excited about this. I feel like this is the place for me.''
The 5-foot-8 Bonds averaged 17.0 points per game during her senior season, after averaging 15.3 the previous year. She also was a 2013-14 Belleville News-Democrat Class 3A-4A Girls All-Area selection this past season.
A member of the Ohio Valley Conference, Murray State finished 11-17 a year ago. Bonds will join a deep and crowded Racers' backcourt for the 2014-15 season, but coach Rob Cross is happy to land the athletic and versatile player.
"Jasmine is an extremely athletic guard that is capable of contributing at all three guard positions. She is a solid 3-point shooter that can flat out get to the rim and is a perfect fit for our style of play,'' Cross said in a prepared statement. "Her athletic ability will give her the chance to become an elite defender.
"One thing that excites me about her is that she has a father that played football at the highest level, so she comes in already understanding the commitment it takes to succeed in Division I athletics."
Known for 3-point shooting, speed and athleticism, Bonds has the ability to play three positions -- point guard, off guard and small forward --at the college level.
"They (Murray State) have a point guard coming back so this year as a freshman, I'll be competing for playing time at the off guard and small forward positions. But I know I've got work to do,'' Bonds said. "I know I've got to continue to get stronger. My dad has been pushing weight training on me since I was in the sixth grade. I'm to the point now where I enjoy working out and lifting weights.
"I can handle the basketball and my quickness and speed have always been two of my major strengths. But I've got to work on being able to stop and hit the jumper. With my quickness, I've always been able to penetrate and take it to the rim.''
O'Fallon coach Ryan Massey said Bonds deserves credit for waiting for the right offer to come in.
"Jasmine was patient and sometimes things just fall in to place the way you want them too. In this situation for her they did. Murray State is a great school and they're getting a player in Jasmine whose potential is through the roof,'' Massey said. "From end-to-end with the basketball she's the fastest player I've ever coached and just a great, great athlete.
"Jasmine is also a great young lady and we wish her the best at Murray State.''
Bonds plans to major in physical therapy/athletic training at Murray State and hopes to play professional basketball in Europe after she graduates.
"Nope, I don't want to play in the WNBA. My dream has always been to play in Europe, hopefully Spain," Bonds said. "I've never been abroad and always wanted to travel in Europe and play ball. That's my dream.''