If coaches around the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) had pointed questions about the professional readiness of Grand Bahamian Jonquel Jones, they all have been answered.
If Connecticut Sun Coach Curt Miller had apprehensions about any duty he wants his now second season center/forward to perform on court, he now has a clear mind. She is up to the task.
In Asia, if there were initial doubts about the slim player from the Bahamas who looked delicate, all now know quite well of her toughness. Around the world, in basketball fraternities, tabs are kept on what goes on in the sport. The world knows of Jonquel Jones.
On Monday, she capped one of the most successful years any Bahamian sports star has had, when she led her Woori Bank Wibee team to the Women’s Korean Basketball League (WKBL) Championship. She was awesome against a Blue Minx team that did not want to go away. Blue Minix, with Jones Connecticut Sun teammate Alyssa Thomas as the main player, pushed Woori almost to the brink.
At the end of regulations it was 68-68. Only then, the superiority of Woori was demonstrated, with Jones having her greatest game as a professional. Career highs in points (27) and rebounds (25), three block shots and two assists powered Woori to an 83-72 victory for a three-straight sweep of the title series.
In a post-game comment on Instagram Jones indicated relief but satisfaction.
“Well Korea, it’s been great. I walked into my first professional overseas contract and now I’m leaving as a champion! To say it was tough would be an understatement but God had me all the way! Situations like this help build strong character and I can walk away saying that I’ve become a better basketball player and person during my time here,” said Jones.
No doubt, Koreans who observed her during a season in which she performed consistently at a high level, appreciate what she represented. Certainly the WKBL was a better competitive forum because of the presence of the 6-6 Jones.
What Jones has done during her season in Korea goes beyond terrific play on the court. She has upped her market value considerably. She will no doubt be courted by many other teams throughout leagues outside of the United States, to play after the next WNBA season.
For now, though, the challenge she faces would be to transfer her all-star performances from Asia to the WNBA. Last season, the Sun missed the play-off despite a solid finish. Jones, I’m sure will be looked to by Coach Miller to be one of the prime catalysts towards clinching a playoff berth at the end of the upcoming season.
He has predicted that she would be one of the stars of the WNBA.
Well, the new WNBA season for Jones and the rest of her Sun teammates begins on Saturday, May 13. It will be a home contest at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, against the Atlanta Dream.
Best wishes for a second WNBA season and beyond!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmal or on WhatsApp 727-6363).
Published Friday, March 24, 2017