Jonquel Jones enters 2017 on a roll

Fred Sturrup

Jonquel Jones, the 6-6 cen-ter/forward from Holmes Rock, Grand Bahama, is blasting along in the Women Korean Basketball League (WKBL), carrying the Woori Bank Wibee team to one of the greatest regular season runs in history.

 

Woori Bank Wibee is 18-1, atop the South Korean-based league with a big lead over second place KEB Hanabank (10-9). The Jones-led-Woori team defeated the  Shinhan Bank S-Birds 75-57 on December 31 to close out  2016 on a roll towards the regular season title, barring some catastrophic slide.

 

Jones in that game, recorded yet another double/double and a commanding performance while contesting shorts. She had six blocks to go with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Add two steals and an assist to the stat line and you get the full picture of what Jones has been to her team and the league in Asia.

 

Going into Round 20 of the regular season, Jones and company will face the KB Stars on Thursday, January 5. She leads the league in scoring (15.8); rebounding per game (12.6); and blocked shots 3.3 per game.

 

Incredibly, she is putting up such statistics while averaging just 23.3 minutes per game out of 40 minutes. She is shooting 55 percent from the field, 70 percent from the free throw line and 46 percent from three-point territory. Jones continues to perform at a level, beyond where any other Bahamian professional basketball player, male or female, has ever been,

 

Amazingly, with Jones exemplifying female excellence in basketball and the national program for women on the decline, the Bahamas Basketball Federation is not seizing the moment to project Jones, given the great item of inspiration she could be to the demoralized members of the local female basketball fraternity.

 

BTC, led by General Manager Leon Williams, who knows a thing or two about marketing, has made Jones one of their poster products.

 

Jones has been back in the country twice since her (Bahamian) historic first round selection in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) first round by the Los Angeles Sparks (later to be traded to the Connecticut Sun), last April.

 

Federation President Charlie Robins showed up at an event sponsored by the Grand Bahama Power Company and promoted in partnership with The Freeport News. He presented her with a plaque, but needless to say, the parent body for the sport in our country has failed thus far, to fully capitalize on the rise of a Bahamian female basketball player to world prominence.

 

Hopefully Robins and his executive colleagues will plan some kind of an event for the federation to salute and showcase her to the country and in particular connect the star with the female basketball groups as a spokesperson, or something akin.

 

Indeed the federation is obligated to find a way to heighten the profile of Bahamian female basketball, through Jones. She is appropriate at this moment in time, to put a spark in the Bahamian female basketball program.

 

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com

 

Published  Wednesday, January 4, 2017 

 

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