By RENALDO DORSETT
AFTER a stellar junior campaign, expectations loom high for Bahamian basketball player Jonquel Jones, and she spent the offseason with world famous company as she rises on 2016 WNBA draft boards.
Jones was one of several players from George Washington Colonials women’s basketball programme invited to the White House last week to witness President Barack Obama’s recognition of the WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury.
Seven student-athletes and three coaches attended the ceremony in the East Room of the White House as President Obama praised the WNBA champs for their success on the court and their service off it.
“Being able to walk the halls of the White House was a once in a lifetime experience and something I will never forget,” Jones said in a press release issued on the school’s athletic website. “Though the media covers numerous events that take place there, nothing will compare to seeing the President walk into the room, hearing the instantaneous halt of various conversations while also absorbing the rich atmosphere of the White House.”
The WNBA title is annually decided in September, however, President Obama re-scheduled the visit to coincide with a celebration of Women’s Equality Day, celebrating the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Jones is coming off a season filled with accolades, highlighted when she was named an honourable mention All-American by The Associated Press. She has appeared recently on several WNBA mock draft projections including www.draftsite.com and www.wnbadraft.net which both have her going at number four to the Seattle Storm.
The Atlantic 10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year - just the fourth player in conference history to win both awards in the same season - Jones was also one of 52 finalists for the 2015 WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team and was one of 30 midseason candidates for the prestigious Naismith Trophy, which recognises the national player of the year.
Jones was the only player in the A-10 to average a double-double this season. The Freeport, Bahamas, native led the league and ranked sixth nationally in rebounding (12.5 rpg) and was sixth in the conference in scoring (15.3 ppg), fourth in blocked shots (1.9 bpg) and 10th in field goal percentage (.478).
A seven-time A-10 Player of the Week this season, matching the second-most weekly awards in conference history, Jones posted a league-best 20 double-doubles, 10th-most in the NCAA. She set a school record with 375 rebounds on the year, shattering the previous mark of 346 which stood for more than two decades.
Jones will enter her senior year ranked ninth all-time at GW with 102 blocks and 15th with 625 boards in two seasons wearing the Buff and Blue.
Jones was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Atlantic 10 Championship after leading No. 19 GW (29-4, 15-1 A-10) to their first A-10 title since 2003 and fifth overall.
Jones, the 21-year-old six-foot, four-inch criminal justice major, is the daughter of Ettamae and Preston Jones of Grand Bahama.