BURLEY — Jemilynn Mahoney chose Utah over Idaho for her college destination, but her choice provided more of a home atmosphere than any of the other schools on her list.
Mahoney signed with Salt Lake Community College on Friday at Burley High School. The Burley senior had several offers from junior college basketball programs, but the Scenic West Athletic Conference school in Salt Lake City stood out.
“Their campus was beautiful,” she said. “It just felt like home.”
SLCC will literally feel like home when she steps on campus in the fall. Her older twin brothers are both attending the school, she said, after returning from two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mahoney admitted that her brothers didn’t immediately come to mind when she first weighed her options. Basketball was her priority, and she determined that SLCC was her best on-court option.
“The (head) coach, she was really honest with me. She told me straight up, ‘You’re gonna have to work for your spot,’ which, that’s what I love doing,” Mahoney said. “She said, ‘There’s something that we’re missing,’ and I felt like I could fill that spot. That’s why I chose it.”
Mahoney said she had offers from the College of Southern Idaho, Northwest Nazarene University, Odessa (Tex.) College and two other Utah junior colleges: Snow College and Utah State University Eastern. She didn’t consider four-year schools.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be able to play because I don’t get anything from sitting on the bench, so that’s why I decided to go to a smaller school,” she said. “Then from there, I’d go to a bigger school.”
CSI, Snow and USU Eastern all play with SLCC in the SWAC. In March, the Bruins beat CSI for the Region 18 title and earned the No. 9 seed at the NJCAA tournament, where they lost to No. 24 ASA Brooklyn in the first round.
SLCC’s track record of success contributed to Mahoney’s decision to sign there. She will also receive a full-ride scholarship from the school, she said, and she’ll continue to play post.
This past season, Mahoney was one of the best players on a Burley team that won the 4A state title.
As Mahoney looked in to SLCC, a few details stood out — the school’s mascot is a Bruin, and its colors are blue and white.
“The first thing that came to mind was Twin Falls,” she said with a laugh. “Am I playing for Nancy?”
That’s Nancy Jones, the head girls basketball coach at Twin Falls High School.
Mahoney is happy to trade Bobcat green for Bruin blue. At least it’s not Minico red.
Salt Lake City is only a couple hours away from Burley, anyway, and she expects to feel right at home when she steps onto the SLCC campus in the fall.