TAMPA — University of Tampa women's basketball coach Tom Jessee believes in Karma.
Does he ever.
"She's big on hard work, accountability, doing whatever we ask her to do," Jessee said. "How could you not believe in that?"
As for 5-foot-7 junior guard/forward/center Karma Jeremie — the ultra-versatile player with the ultra-cool name — it's simply a matter of applying a winning mindset and a determined spirit.
Jeremie, who averages 12.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists, is all over the boxscore for UT (5-3), which hosts Florida Tech on Saturday night.
That's her game.
But what about that name?
"I love, love, love my name," said Jeremie, who played at Orlando Colonial High School.
It's actually Heather Karma Jeremie. Her father wanted his children to have "righteous" middle names, so she has brothers with the middle names of Supreme and Justice.
"Every day when I wake up or write my name on paper, I know I have a purpose," Jeremie said. "It's something strong, something powerful. Even when people don't know me, they know the concept of karma. There's already a strong connotation of karma in people's minds. When you meet me, I try to reinforce it and hold a strong presence in anyone's life.
"I firmly do believe in karma. I feel like what you give to the universe is what the universe gives back to you."
Jeremie keeps giving back to the Spartans in unexpected ways.
Due to injuries, she has been forced to play center, a role she willingly accepts even though she sometimes surrenders anywhere between 5 and 9 inches to the player she is guarding.
"Karma is so versatile and so valuable, almost like a Ben Zobrist baseball type of person in the sport of women's basketball," Jessee said. "She has tangibles you just can't teach and she presents a constant matchup problem. She doesn't give in to anybody. … Saying a player 'does it all' is kind of a cliche, but she does it all for us."
Speaking of cliches, coaches used to describe versatile players as "doing everything except selling tickets."
Jeremie does that, too.
She works part-time on UT's athletic facilities staff, setting up the courts and fields, tearing things down after the game and, yes, sometimes selling tickets.
It's not unusual for Jeremie to help set up for a women's basketball game, play in the game, shower, change, then help put everything away after the men's game.
"Sometimes, athletes can get spoiled and think they don't have to do anything outside of the athletic arena," Jessee said. "That's not Karma. Her work ethic is off the charts."
"I know no other way because nothing has ever been given to me," Jeremie said. "Sometimes, I get in a funk and say, 'Dang, I have no time to rest.' Then I look around and realize it's a blessing for me to be on a scholarship, playing at a private institution, getting an education at an accredited business school. It's a blessing for me to put on this jersey and play this game."
Get real-time alerts about your favorite teams
Subscribe to our free Breaking Sports News newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Long ago, Jeremie learned to count her blessings.
She was just 4 when her mother, Denise Green, died from complications related to a severe asthmatic condition. Jeremie was too young to have lingering memories.
"I think about her more now that I'm in college as I get closer to entering the world and start my 'adulting,' as they say," said Jeremie, who is majoring in business management and hopes to pursue an MBA. "What would my mom think about me today? Would she be proud of the person I'm becoming? Would she be proud of me playing basketball?
"Sometimes, my father reinforces it and says, 'Your mother would be real proud of you.' And that makes me feel good."
Jeremie has made a name for herself.
Her name itself? That has been a distinction for as long as she can remember.
"The thing that always gets me is when people say, 'Karma? What is that, a nickname?' " Jeremie said. "How is it a nickname? That's like saying, 'Oh my name is Shelby, but I'm going to nickname myself Daisy.'
"Sometimes, I just whip out the driver's license. People say, 'Wow! Nice name!' "
On the court, it's nice game.
Jessee believes in Karma and the abilities of his entire team, which includes junior Faith Sanders, another versatile and talented Spartan.
"I think that's a good sign," Jessee said. "If we can't get it done by believing in Karma and needing Faith, it's not going to happen."