Some are calling the 2016 WNBA Draft “the Breanna Stewart draft.” But there are other draft eligiblebplayers out there as well, and the MSR briefly will discuss several of them in our “Countdown to the WNBA Draft 2016.”
Today — George Washington forward Jonquel Jones
Carolyn Peck, a former WNBA head coach and general manager, knows pro talent when she sees it. “I had a chance to meet her and spend some time with her at the Final Four, and looking at her frame, I think she has a huge upside and a potential,” noted Peck on George Washington forward Jonquel Jones, one of 18 Division I players with at least 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career, three time all-conference selection, and two-time all defense honoree.
“[She] is real interesting to me at 6-3 [6-6], averages a double-double, and has a three-point range shot in her game.” Jones is her school’s top ten in scoring (4th) and blocks (5th), and third in rebounds, a two-time All-American and finished this season as the nation’s leading rebounder.
One mock draft has the Freeport, Bahamas native as the eighth overall pick, which Phoenix holds. “No matter how many mock drafts there are, no matter how many people are saying this and that, you just never know. I don’t put too much thought into it,” she stated. “I am just looking forward to the experience and being able to take the next step.”
That ‘next step’ is ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut this week, the site of the 2016 WNBA Draft. Jones and several other probable first round draft-eligible players will be in the ‘green room,’ waiting for their names to be called Thursday evening.
“There’s a lot of emotions going into it,” admitted Jones. “I was talking to Imani [Boyette] and Tiffany [Mitchell] saying how hard we’ve worked to get here and just enjoying the moment. You’re a little bit overwhelmed because of all the stuff that’s going into it in terms of making sure your schoolwork is done, making sure you’ve got everything prepared for the trip [to the draft] and just being prepared and ready for training camp as well.”
“Jonquel is a tremendous stretch-4 with great size that can give you some minutes at the 5,” said Connecticut first-year Head Coach Curt Miller, whose club has the third and fourth pick in Thursday’s draft. He said last week that Jones’ shooting, passing and driving ability “plays so well on the perimeter. She’s very intriguing to all of us,” he said.
If the W had a territorial draft, Jones might be Washington’s pick, which would suit her just fine especially since GW is in the neighborhood, she pointed out. But those drafts ended decades ago.
“I made up my mind I wasn’t going to look at any of that stuff anymore,” said Jones on the draft talk. “I just stay away from it. I try to enjoy my teammates who I’m not going to be around a lot because of the draft and stuff. So I’m just trying to enjoy their company and enjoy being around them, and just understanding that it’s a process that I want to have fun with, and looking at that stuff doesn’t really help me have fun.”
Next: South Carolina guard Tiffany Mitchell
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.