Basketball is a way of life for the Jolivette family.
Brian Jolivette played for Louisiana-Lafayette and passed his love of the game on to his son, Blake, who played at American, and then to his daughter, Brooke. The 5-11 guard became the latest member of the family to excel at the high school level and secure a college scholarship Friday when she committed to North Texas.
“I went to the campus, got into the gym and started playing,” Brooke Jolivette said. “I really felt comfortable and felt the love from the coaches. I played really well. It felt right.”
Playing basketball always has felt that way for each member of the Jolivette clan.
Brian Jolivette played for the Ragin’ Cajuns from 1983 to ’87, while Blake Jolivette’s college career spanned 2009-13.
Brian Jolivette went on to coach for Houston Hoops, his son’s AAU summer program, and often took Brooke along.
“She used to be our mascot with Houston Hoops,” Brian Jolivette said. “We realized she had a nice shot. When my son graduated, she asked if I could coach a team for her.”
Brooke gradually developed into a college prospect at Humble Kingwood. She was a first-team All-District 13-5A selection as a junior last season, when she averaged 12.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Colleges across the country started to take note of the latest product in the Jolivette basketball family over the last few months. Brooke Jolivette visited UNT unofficially a few weeks ago and returned for a camp this week.
Houston Baptist also offered Jolivette a scholarship, while UAB, Tulane, Bucknell and Belmont showed interest.
“When I got there, they welcomed me with open arms and let me play freely,” Jolivette said of UNT. “I like that they play in the open floor. The coaches said that they are really glad to have me and that I could make a difference at UNT.”
The Mean Green’s staff told Brian Jolivette that they were looking for a wing player and a talented shooter. Brooke Jolivette could fill both needs and has the versatility that UNT coach Mike Petersen values.
“The girls were huddled up when [Petersen] tossed up the ball up in the air and gave the touchdown sign,” Brian Jolivette said. “The guy I was standing with said that she had just committed.”
Staying relatively close to home was a draw for Brooke Jolivette, who has an uncle who lives 20 minutes from UNT.
The rest of the family lives within driving distance and will be on hand as well when Jolivette begins her UNT career after playing one final high school season. The transition to the college level is one that she seemed destined to make.
“I started to like the game since I was always in the gym at my brother’s practices,” Brooke Jolivette said. “I was pretty good at it and basketball is something I enjoy. It’s cool to know that I will carry on the family tradition.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870.