Jerome Meyinsse: Making the Grade On and Off the Court
By Effie George, Athletics Media Relations Student Assistant
Jerome Meyinsse, a forward/center from Baton Rouge, La., is the quintessential student-athlete: he is intelligent, hard-working, and completely devoted to learning as a means of improvement. Since graduating from McKinley High School in 2006, he acknowledges his game has improved tremendously, but he continues to push himself to learn more about how the college game is played, how to improve his scoring and rebounding techniques, and how to strengthen himself physically as well as academically.
Meyinsse is, in every sense of the phrase, a true “student of the game.”
During his senior year of high school, Meyinsse averaged 18.5 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists per game, earning him second-team Class 4A All-State honors and the MVP award for Class 4A District 7. The captain of the McKinley team, Meyinsse lettered three times for head coach Chauncey Moore and led his team to the Class 4A District 7 championship.
The transition from high school to collegiate play was a challenge for Meyinsse.
“When I first got here it was a big change,” Meyinsse admits. “The college game is a lot faster. You have to think a lot faster than you did in high school and the guys are a lot stronger. It really took me a while to get used to the differences but now I’m starting to get used to the speed and I’ve gotten a lot stronger.”
Last season, Meyinsse played off the bench in 15 games, averaging 1.1 points, 1.3 rebounds and 6.7 minutes per game. His rookie highlights included nine points in Virginia’s victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore, six rebounds in 16 minutes in a win over UNC-Asheville, and two steals in 18 minutes at the San Juan Shootout against Puerto-Rico Mayaguez.
The 6-8 player is using last season’s experience as a jumping off point. His main objective for the coming season lies in his desire to get more playing time than last year and to help the Cavaliers succeed.
“I’m still learning the game,” he said regarding ways he is seeking to improve this year. “I can rebound the ball better, I can improve my scoring with either hand, and I can get more of a feel for the game.”
The 2006-07 season was a learning, as well as a growing experience, for Meyinsse.
“I got stronger physically and faster,” he said. “I was able to jump higher. Mentally, I learned a lot more about the game and I learned a lot more about myself as a player.”
Meyinsse’s favorite memory of his first season is the win over Duke when fans rushed the John Paul Jones Arena court. “When I was little I would see people do that, but to actually be a part of it was a lot of fun,” he said.
As a more seasoned player after last year’s experience, Meyinsse has adopted a new role of teacher and leader.
“I’ve been here for a year so there are some things I know that (the first-years) don’t, so I can teach them and I can help them and I can give them an idea of what to expect later on,” he said. “In that way I have been a leader to them.”
A self-proclaimed “student of the game,” Meyinsse said he is constantly trying to learn and improve himself mentally as well as physically. He is working hard to better certain parts of his own game that he knows will help him in situations on the court.
Meyinsse uses these strategies not only in his athletic endeavors but in his academic pursuits as well. Planning to declare an economics major, he pushes himself to learn and do well in school. He continues to go to study hall even though he is no longer required to because it provides him with an environment in which to do his work.
“When it comes down to it, it’s really all about time management,” he said. “You have your social life, your basketball, and your books. You have to balance all of those. I think I have good time management skills so it’s not too hard,” he said.
Jerome Meyinsse is working hard to earn more playing time this season. He is a player who potentially can help the team while pushing himself to learn more about his teammates, the game, and himself.