Fil-American cager Vanessa de Jesus is expected to shine when she finally plays for the Duke University Blue Devils in the Division 1 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association this November.
Duke head coach Kara Lawson said this in an official statement after members of the 2020-21 women’s basketball team held their first official practice Wednesday in the K Center for Academic and Athletic Excellence in Durham, North Carolina.
“She’s done a solid job. It’s a big challenge to come in as a freshman and like you mentioned, be the only one and so a lot of everything is new for her. Not just the basketball portion but obviously the rigorous academics, getting used to classes, getting used to time management and getting used to all those things that are different and are more challenging than being in high school,” said Lawson.
Lawson talked about the team at the end of their scrimmage at the K Center for Academic and Athletic Excellence.
De Jesus whose parents immigrated the United States decades ago, was recently invited by national coach Patrick Aquino.
And the 5’8” de Jesus welcomed a chance to play for the Gilas Pilipinas national women’s basketball team in the future.
De Jesus is seen to blend well with the veterans of the team like Miela Goodchild and Onome Akinbode-James and Mikayla Boykin:
The opportunity to join the national squad came her way last month following talks with national women’s coach Patrick Aquino.
Duke, which is currently ranked no. 3 before the pandemic cancelled the rest of their postseason campaign.
“I thought it was a solid first session, a continuation of what we’ve been teaching throughout the preseason. I think our players have done a great job of trying to pick up as quickly as possible what we are trying to teach them and to just really try and understand those concepts and work hard to try to make reads and finish the way we want them to,” said Lawson.
Lawson, who is a WNBA Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, is in her first season as head coach of the Blue Devils.
After taking over the job on July 11, she has been working hard to develop relationships with the current squad and get out on the recruiting trail along with her assistant coaches Tia Jackson, Beth Cunningham and Winston Gandy.
Duke returns three starters and will feature a roster of 11 student-athletes in 2020-21 led by senior Jade Williams, junior player Akinbode-James, junior Miela Goodchild and senior Mikayla Boykin.
“For me, in the first few weeks, we’re just trying to install as much as we can. We’re trying to put in our system, put in our offenses and defenses,” added Lawson.