Girls Basketball: Marist’s JeTaun Rouse a rousing success, on and off court
By Phil Brozynski For Sun-Times Media January 2, 2013 7:50PM
Marist's JeTaun Rouse | File photo
Updated: February 4, 2013 2:51PM
Marist’s JeTaun Rouse remembers her first varsity game as if it were yesterday.
“I was a freshman and it was our home opener against Montini,” she said. “The atmosphere was crazy. I was nervous and scared at first. I didn’t start the game. They had three or four Division I players who were going to places like Notre Dame and UConn.
“Yet when I got in the game, I scored about 15 points,” Rouse added. “I remember thinking when I got out there, ‘I can handle this.’ ”
No longer that nervous young freshman, Rouse now is a confident, charismatic although still somewhat quiet senior who could lead the RedHawks to the state finals in Normal for the first time since 2008.
Last week, the 5-foot-9 guard showed just how dominant she can be when she scored 83 points over four games against some of the best competition in the country at the Naples (Fla.) Holiday Shootout, including 30 points in a 51-48 loss to Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh, ranked No. 23 in the country by MaxPreps.
“She had a phenomenal tournament,” Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly said of Rouse. “She really was our go-to player the whole tournament. I was so proud of the way she performed. She’s really grown to be the player we expected her to be.”
Rouse, a Marquette recruit, demonstrated her versatility in Florida, playing wherever her team needed her.
“JeTaun can play anywhere,” Connolly said. “When our point guard got into foul trouble the first two minutes of a game, JeTaun played the point for us. She posted up. She rebounded. She scored. She proved she can play, big time.”
Rouse’s evolution on and off the court has not gone unnoticed.
“I think I have grown and matured these past four years,” Rouse said. “I used to have a temper. It was horrible. I would get upset on the court. But as I grew older I realized I can’t lose my head. You never know who’s watching you or in the stands recruiting you.
“You have to be aware of your environment and how you handle yourself in public.”
Although years removed from that scared and nervous freshman, Rouse still is soft-spoken in public. But she never lacks words of encouragement for her teammates, particularly the underclassmen.
“She’s really taken a lot of our younger kids under her wing,” Connolly said. “She’s pretty quiet, speaking-wise. She’s more of a leader by the way she performs. But off the court she’s a pretty funny kid. She’s very enjoyable to be around.”
If Rouse’s performance in Florida serves any indication, there are more good times ahead for the RedHawks.
“It was great competition, great competition,” she said. “We battled our hearts out. Every team had four, five girls who were going to play Division I. There are not many teams in Chicago at that level yet. I think in the end that it’s going to make us stronger as a team.”