The 12th annual Junkanoo Jam is fast approaching.
Slated to begin November 27-29, the Women’s Division 1 NCAA Basketball Tournament will have some of the best college teams displaying their talents at the St. George’s Gymnasium.
Scheduled to be taking part in this year’s tournament will be Grand Bahama’s own Jonquel Jones and the George Washington Colonials.
Not only does the tournament serve as a boost in the sports tourism arena, but Grand Bahamians will get the opportunity to see the 6'4'' forward Jones in action at the collegiate level.
President of the Bahamas Basketball Federation Charles “Softly” Robins stated “this is history and she gives the children a little bit of encouragement, especially the girls.
“This should give the girls some kind of encouragement to want to play girls’ basketball and get serious. Because, now that they see one of their own, they can see the opportunity that’s out there playing basketball,” Robins said.
Robins saw Jones play for the national team and said, “now I have the opportunity to actually see her play on the college level. I’m not surprised that she can play but I just want her to do well. I think she’ll be our next WNBA player (Waltiea Rolle was the first). I do hope that the young people and all the schools, especially the girls show up and give their support.”
Gladstone “Moon” McPhee who coached Jones through the HOYTES program is extremely proud to see how far she has come.
“What you see from Jonquel is hard work. From nine years old she always worked hard. I’m extremely proud of her and to see her coming home to play. I remember she would practice with her father at St. George’s. She’s a hard worker and all young basketball players should try to emulate her. We all should be proud of her,” said McPhee.
Jones played with the Bahamian women’s national team over the summer in the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships. She had a huge showing, putting up 17 points per game and averaged 14 rebounds which led the tournament. She also led the Bahamas to an overtime victory over the then favored Dominican Republic team putting up 23 points, grabbing 27 rebounds, swatting away five shots and dishing out four assists.
She also has had quite an impressive collegiate career so far. Jones first started out her college career at Clemson University where she averaged 9.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks before transferring to George Washington.
In her sophomore year, she became eligible to play for George Washington in the 2013-2014 season on December 21, 2013. She led George Washington averaging 14.7 points per game, 10.9 rebounds per game and 1.9 blocks per game (44 blocks in total). She also made the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team that season.
Going into her junior year this 2014-2015 season, she was listed on the Preseason All-Conference First Team and All-Defensive Team.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Purdue Boilermakers, the East Carolina Pirates, the Syrcause Orangemen (the only team visiting currently ranked in the Associated Press’ and USA Today coaches’ preseason top 25), the Wisconsin Badgers and the South Carolina Gamecocks will also take part in the highly anticipated tournament.
The teams are split into two divisions, Freeport and Lucaya.
George Washington, NC State, Texas Tech and Purdue will battle for the Freeport Division championship this year. East Carolina, Syracuse, Wisconsin and South Carolina will battle for the Lucaya Division championship.
Each team will play two games. The winners of games one and two in both divisions will face off in the division championship. The losers will play for third place.
East Carolina takes on Syracuse in game one of the tournament, November 27, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Following will be Wisconsin vs South Carolina at 4:15 p.m.
George Washington will take on NC State on November 28 at 1:00 p.m. Following will be Texas Tech vs Purdue at 3:15 p.m.
The third place game in the Lucaya Division will take place November 28 at 5:45 p.m. Following will the be the Lucayan Division championship at 8:00 p.m.
The third place game in the Freeport Division will take place November 29 at 1:00 p.m, followed by the Freeport Division Championship at 3:15 p.m.