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Jonquel Jones: First Bahamian Basketballer Who Was Traded in the WNBA Draft

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It’s almost as though Jonquel Jones was destined to become a basketball star. Her father built a court where she began playing. Those initial strides led her to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), where she’s become a star. Jones was the first player to win the Most Improved Player Award, Most Valuable Player and the Sixth Woman of the Year awards. Read more about her. 

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Jonquel Jones’ Early Career

Jonquel Jones: First Bahamian Basketballer Who Was Traded in the WNBA Draft
Bahamian basketballer Jonquel Jones. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Jonquel Jones started playing basketball at the age of five in Grad Bahama Island. Her father and uncle built the court she played on. She lived with her two brothers and four sisters in a separate apartment but would go back there to practise. 

A basketball coach, Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, noticed her talents when she trained with her and her friend Buddy Hield. Unfortunately, Jones couldn’t get a lot of gym time, but McPhee helped her on that. She used his gym before going to school. During the holidays, Jones played against American teams and realized they were on a different level because of resources. 

Jonquel Jones was connected to Riverdale Baptist’s basketball coach, Diane Richardson and ended up joining the school in Maryland on a scholarship. When she began playing with the team, she couldn’t keep up with them but was determined to work. Her coach, Richardson, said her persistence to train challenged her. Her improvement was evident as her ranking jumped from 36 to 17.

The guard attended Clemson College before switching to George Washington to team up with Richardson. She felt like the team at Clemson wasn’t a fit and wouldn’t improve her. The Bahamian was one of the best players in the United States and picked the interest of the WNBA.

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Professional Career

In 2016, Jonquel Jones was drafted as a first-round sixth-overall pick by the Los Angeles Sparks. She became the first Bahamian to be drafted in the WNBA. However, the team traded her to the Connecticut Sun

In the beginning, Jones struggled and, by her standards, had an underwhelming start in the league. During the off-season, Jones joined the South Korean league and horn some of her skills. 

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Breakout Season

In 2017, Jonquel Jones stole the show. She joined an illustrious group of players who’ve scored 20 rebounds and 20 points in a single season. At the end of the campaign, the point guard grabbed the award for the Most Improved Player of the Year. 

However, things took a turn in 2018. She traveled to China to play during the off-season, but her return was delayed due to visa problems. Jones wasn’t able to join the team for pre-season training and, thus, spent more time on the sidelines. However, whenever she was in action, she played her heart out and collected the Sixth Woman of the Year Award.

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Return to the Squad

The following season, the Bahamian regained her place and was the team’s star. She scored the highest number of rebounds, minutes played, and blocks. Her performance earned her a place in the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game. The Connecticut Sun made it into the final but lost to the Washington Mystics

In 2020, she opted out of playing due to coronavirus but returned in 2021 and continued with her record-breaking performance. At one point, she led the league in all statistics, but others narrowed on them when she left to represent Bosnia in the Eurobasket. Jones still scored the highest average points in the league with 19.4, 2.8 assists, and 11.2 rebounds.

The Bahamian basketball star was the Most Valuable Player. At the end of the season, Jonquel Jones was traded to the New York Liberty, where she currently plays.

The Bahamian knows what she wants and isn’t afraid of going after her ambitions. Her daring call to leave her college team for George Washington and asking for a trade away from Connecticut Sun demonstrate her continued longing to challenge herself.

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