Student-Athlete Question & Answer: Jallen Messersmith

Sophomore forward taks about his Benedictie experience

  • Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The following is a Question & Answer feature with sophomore men's basketball player Jallen Messersmith. Jallen is a native of Blue Springs, Mo., and is majoring in accounting.

Each Q & A feature will be posted on each Wednesday and will be showcased in the weekly BRSN Extra email on Wednesday afternoons.

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Q. Was Basketball always the sport you were most passionate about?
A. No, not at all. I wasn’t always good at basketball and I wasn’t really passionate about it until the end of my sophomore year and the beginning of my junior year. It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I realized I could maybe play in college. Before then I played because I was tall but I wasn’t the person they would turn to; I was on the freshman B team and then the sophomore team, so I played but I had never really been ‘the’ player. And then  one of the JV coaches actually came up to me and  told me I should be more invested in it because I had never been to an outside workout or any of that and he kind of pushed me to do more with that. After that since someone had interest in me, that pushed me to do more.

Q. What are your hobbies outside of basketball?
A. I play the piano, I like to draw, and I love reading. I started playing the piano when I was 11, so I’ve played it for almost 9 years. It was always off and on with basketball, and it’s always something I go to to get away from everything else, it’s something I can play and not think of anything. I tried getting involved in some business clubs, but basketball kind of controls everything.

Q. Do you see yourself having a future in basketball after college?
A. I definitely want to be a coach of some sort.  During the summers I’m a competitive coach and I do academy sessions with younger kids and there are some kids from ages one and a half to 18, and I love doing it. (Coaching) is something that I’m very passionate about because it’s not only a sport but it can help somebody else, because it helped me get to where I am today and I want it to be something that can help other people.  

Q. How has the basketball team changed in your two years here?
A. I think when I first came in, we weren’t really sure with each other and we were still trying to figure each other out. Last year we lost six seniors, so it’s been a big difference. I mean, coming into this year we only had one starter returning and so it was going to be a huge change for us. And the people who did come in it felt like we always clicked together, and it’s a good thing because this next year we only lose one person, so we’re going to have this whole team that works together. It’s different for me because I’ve been involved with teams that are always losing. My junior and senior year of high school we had losing records, and the kids on my team weren’t working together as a team, but we were trying to get somewhere by ourselves. The difference here is that we’re not trying to get somewhere by ourselves, but we’re trying to get somewhere as a team, which is a lot nicer and it makes you feel more wanted as a person instead of always trying to fight someone for a spot.

Q. If you could do it all again would you chose Benedictine?
A. I would, I’ve had great experiences here, and I’ve met a ton of people I would’ve never have even been close to, and it’s opened more doors than I would’ve gotten anywhere else.

Q. If you could would you have tried to play at a bigger school?
A. I don’t know.  I feel like here you can feel comfortable and you feel apart of something. When you look at Division I schools it’s kind of a constant fight for your team but to also get to bigger places.  Here, I wouldn’t say that we’ve realized we couldn’t do that but we also want to make here a better place.

I honestly wouldn’t have even heard of Benedictine if it weren’t for basketball. The coach that used to be here came to one of my games and he started talking about it and I had never even heard of it.  But if basketball wasn’t an option, I would’ve probably would have gone to Mizzou or KU, those were the non-basketball schools I was looking into.

Q. Do you see a different dynamic in your team than you do in teams you play?
A. I think we relate better to each other. From watching other teams play, they are working as a team, but they’re not working as a team at the same time. We have that dynamic where we can work as a team but we can do our own thing. In other teams you can see when they argue, they are arguing for themselves and not for their team.  For us when we get in arguments, it’s for each other and not ourselves.

Q. Being an underclassman how have you and your underclassmen teammates been able to step it up this year?
A. I think we have a lot of drive. Being younger we have a lot to work for and the other teams are getting to their end. They have things to work for but they’re at the top of that ceiling. For us we know we can improve, and playing in games and trying to get to the spot where we can compete with those teams, kind of puts us ahead because we have places we know we can go.  We know we can grow and we have the potential to go places.  We have something to work for.

Q. What are you expecting out of the next two years?
A. I’m just hoping we can continue to involve the students. When I first came in, we weren’t necessarily involved with the other students; it was very (separate), and you could tell by the atmosphere in the gym. People would show up but it wasn’t a huge crowd like we have now. I feel now we are more out with the student body and I see more people come to support us and that will push us to places. If we didn’t have the crowds, if we didn’t have the support that we do, it would  be harder to have something to work for and to work for the school we are playing for.  With the support of the school, it makes us want to do it even more.