Grand Bahamian center for the Connecticut Sun Jonquel Jones, recently announced (Monday, June 22) that she will be foregoing her fifth season in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
The league announced last week the intent to begin the 2020 season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The academy would serve as the bubble location for the players to compete in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the 6´6´´ center announced in a social media post that she had given heavy consideration to the “resurgence and unknown aspects,” of the virus leading to her surprising decision.
“After careful thought and consideration, I’ve decided to forego the upcoming WNBA season and use this time to focus on personal, social, and familial growth.
“This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve made, but the resurgence and unknown aspects of COVID-19, have raised serious health concerns that I do not feel comfortable competing in.
“I’d like to thank the Connecticut Sun organization, my teammates and fans for their unwavering support and understanding.
“While I won’t be competing this year, I’m looking forward to lacing up with my teammates in 2021 and continuing the pursuit for a WNBA championship. Wishing the entire league and everyone involved a healthy and enjoyable season. Go Sun!”
Likewise, Sun General Manager and head coach Curt Miller came out in full support of his star center.
“On behalf of our entire organization, we fully support JJ’s difficult decision to sit out the 2020 WNBA season during these unprecedented times. We recognize the amount of unique challenges, sacrifices, and unknowns, this season presents, and from the top down, there is an unwavering commitment to support each player’s respective decision. We look forward to having JJ back leading us next summer.”
On June 15, the WNBA announced plans to tip off the 2020 Season which included the single site location for a 22-game regular season and traditional playoff format. Much like their counterparts in the National Basketball Association, leagues have been formatting ways for a return-to-play with proper safety protocols in place.
The Sun team is coming off one of their most successful seasons. The team made it to the WNBA Finals and was one win away from a championship. Ultimately, the Sun lost the series in five games, 3-2, to the Washington Mystics back in October.
Nonetheless, “JJ” was in rare form and on the verge of her first title and possible Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Jones averaged 19.2 points and 11 rebounds per game in the series and posted double doubles in both wins for the Sun.
The team went 23-11, the second best record in the league behind the Mystics (26-8). “The Bahamian Beast” finished the regular season averaging 17.9 points per game. She led the league in rebounding averaging 9.7 per contest and finished tied for first in blocks (2.0 per contest) with the Phoenix Mercury’s Britney Griner. It was the second time in her four-year career that she led the league in rebounds.
Jones was named to the All-WNBA Second Team, the WNBA All-Defensive Team for the first time, finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting, was a WNBA All-Star and was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week four times.
Jones re-signed with the Sun in free agency back in February on a multi-year deal.