Vera Jo Bustos received her BA in Exercise Science (2011), BA in Sports Psychology (2011), and MA in Human Performance (2014) from Adams State University.
Vera Jo founded Mentality Solutions LLC, a sport and performance psychology company focused on achieving optimal performance through mental skills training in 2019.
When asked about the scope of her work with Mentality Solutions, Bustos says, “I truly believe hard work and skill set are important. But without the right mindset to your improvement, discipline, and consistency—your development becomes stagnant. Developing a resilient and optimistic mindset changes you, which then changes your ability to deal with the adverse situations that life throws your way. That’s where the mental game comes in and that’s where we help high-performers gain their edge.”
Prior to founding Mentality Solutions, Vera Jo worked as an assistant basketball coach at Western Colorado University for two years and spent five years on the coaching staff at The University of New Mexico. Since 2012, Vera Jo has implemented her knowledge of sport and performance psychology training the athletes at WCU and UNM on the mental game.
Since Mentality Solutions kicked off, Vera Jo has broadened her reach beyond high school and college athletes. She has worked with professional athletes, coaches, veterans, surgeons, businesses, and business professionals. A highly sought after speaker, she travels the country inspiring, motivating, and teaching the mental game to athletes, high-performers, teams, and coaches—of all ages, ability levels, and sports—at conferences, conventions, workshops, school assemblies, and 1-on-1 trainings.
Vera Jo became a published author in 2020 with the release of her debut book, A Mindful Journey: An Adventure of Discovery & Transformation. Her book focuses on the mental side of the game during her time as a professional basketball player in the Top Division Euro-League in Greece. The Euro-League attracts some of the most dominant players across Europe and features current and past Olympians.
“Once I got to the collegiate and professional levels, I was never the tallest, the strongest, the fastest, or even the most athletic. I had to figure out a way to separate myself from my competition. I found that separation in my hard work, of course, but I believe my main differentiator was my mental game. It gave me an edge. I love to share my story about how an average athlete from a small town in Northern New Mexico got passed up by numerous Division I schools and still made it to the professional level. Working with thousands of athletes on their mental game, a lot of times they think their role models and heroes are so different than they are. They think they don’t have the “it” factor to be great like the athletes they look up to. The truth is we all face certain adversities in our life. The secret is learning how to stay focused and develop an edge during the tough times. This is where I take pride in teaching athletes how to set themselves apart with hard work and incorporating the mental game. If I can do it, so can they.”
Previously, Bustos had a celebrated basketball career at Adams State University (2007-11). A 3x College All-American, 2x All-Region First Team, 4x All-RMAC First Team, Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year selection, Bustos helped lead ASU to two consecutive NCAA Tournament berths and made it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. Her storied career led to a Hall of Fame induction in 2019—making ASU history once again—as one of the youngest inductees in school history at the age of 30.
During her time in Alamosa, Colorado, Bustos not only became the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,859 points, but she also became the school’s all-time leader in minutes played (3,805) and games started (105). In her four years, Bustos averaged 17.5 points per game and set records for most points in a game (36), most 3-pointers in a game (8) and most points in a half (27).
To end her college athletic career, Vera Jo was recruited by the ASU national powerhouse Track & Field team to compete in the high jump at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meet. She placed 6th overall and received second team All-RMAC in Track & Field.
A stellar player at West Las Vegas High School (New Mexico), Bustos still owns the school record for points (2,098), rebounds (935), assists (536), steals (331) and games started (125).
Vera Jo serves as the vice-chair for the New Mexico Athletics Commission Board and is also a Director for PGC Basketball—one of the most prestigious basketball companies in North America.
- Director, PGC Basketball* 2019-present
- Owner, Mentality Solutions, LLC* 2019-present
- Owner, VJ’s Elite, LLC 2017-present
- University of New Mexico Coaching Staff 2014-2019
- Western Colorado University Assistant Coach 2012-2014
- Professional Player – Greek League EuroCup 2011-2012
- All-American, Adams State University 2007-2011
- Adams State University Hall of Fame 2019
- ASU Records:
- All-time career scoring leader: 1,859
- Avg ppg over 4 year career: 17.5
- Most points in a game: 36
- Most points in a half: 27
- Most three-pointers in a game: 8
- Games Started 105
- All-Time Leader in minutes: 3,805
- 2x NCAA All-American
- 2 National Tournament Appearances
- Sweet 16 Appearance
Honors and Awards
- Adams State University Hall of Fame 2019
- WBCA Division II All-American (2009-10, 2010-11)
- Five-time RMAC Player of the Week (2010-11)
- Women’s Div. II Honorable Mention All-American (2010-11)
- Daktronics All-American Ballot (2008-09, 2010-11)
- NCAA Central Regional Championship All-Tournament Team (2010-11)
- Daktronics All-Central Region First Team (2008-09, 2010-11)
- Banker’s Classic Tournament MVP (2008-09, 2010-11)
- Chuck Stephens Classic Tournament MVP (2010-11)
- RMAC Pre-Season Player of the Year (2010-11)
- RMAC West Division Player of the Year (2008-09, 2009-10)
- Div. II Bulletin All-American Team Honorable Mention (2009-10)
- Daktronics All-Central Region Second team (2009-10)
- All-RMAC First Team (2008-09, 2009-10)
- Pre-Season All-RMAC team West Division. (2008-09)
- RMAC Freshman of the Year (2007-08)
- RMAC West Division Freshman of the Year (2007-08)
What They’re Saying About Kyle
Coach Bustos is amazing! I tell anyone who has a little ball player that they NEED to come see her. My daughter has made huge strides because of her. Not only in her ball handling skills, shot and form, but in her confidence. I can’t thank you enough, Vera Jo!
—Randy A., Parent
The superb quality of instruction coupled with the high energy and positive reinforcement are a powerful combination! We are extremely grateful to have our daughter working with Vera Jo!
—Lesly P., Parent
This year was a struggle for me offensively. I questioned every shot I took, especially at the free throw line. I was shooting below 20% from the FT line. I didn’t realize how much of an issue it was until I air balled 2 free throws vs Auburn. A change needed to be made, and that change was Vera Jo! Her help alone improved not only my free throws, but my presence on the offensive side of the court. With VJ’s help I was able to hone in my focus at the free throw line. Within 15 minutes, she not only pointed out issues with my shot, but also gave me helpful tools to fix it. My shot and mentality improved significantly. I urge every young mind to look for Vera Jo if you’re trying to improve not only as an athlete—but also as a young lady/gentleman.
—Nike McClure, Former Div I Athlete