Jazmine Jones is the epitome of what it means to be “greater than an athlete.” Making it to the skilled stage was all the time her dream, however Jones’ calling is to offer again to her hometown of Tallahassee, FL.
The No. 12 total choose within the 2020 WNBA Draft, Jones plans on making a huge impact for the New York Liberty this season. When requested about her draft expertise, her voice lights up with pleasure.
“It was fascinating,” she says. “I didn’t actually know what to anticipate. Actually, my complete draft day was actual chill. I wakened, went to work out, got here residence and bought prepared for pals to return over. Then I had all of my household on a Zoom name to observe the draft collectively.
“After I heard my title known as, I used to be so shocked. Everybody began screaming and crying tears of pleasure. It was surreal.”
Jones was predicted to go later within the draft, so her choice within the first spherical was a little bit of a shock. But anybody who’s watched Jones work on the courtroom would perceive why she was chosen so excessive.
“After I was at DRS (Florida A&M College Developmental Analysis Faculty), I’d all the time say I need to go to the League. Each time I used to be enjoying pick-up, I’d think about my title being known as within the draft. I dreamed this, so to see all of this come true, it nonetheless appears like a dream. Besides after we’re practising—then it feels actual,” Jones says, laughing.
The Liberty have seven rookies on their roster, so that they’re already slated as underdogs. However that doesn’t deter Jones. She boasts of the expertise on her workforce and describes the rookies as hungry and able to play. Jones additionally praises the Liberty’s veterans and the extent of depth that they create.
She’s stored her objectives for her rookie season easy. “My focus is to get higher every day, and contribute to my workforce,” Jones says. “We’re underdogs, solely picked to win 4 video games this season. We now have a very good workforce, and we’re so versatile. All of us simply have to purchase in to the plan.”
Taking part in within the “Wubble” has been an excellent expertise for Jones. She describes IMG Academy as having all the things that one would want to get ready for the season. As for her non permanent housing, Jones loves her area. “It’s large and very nice to reside in. My favourite half is the kitchen as a result of I prefer to prepare dinner, so I instantly felt at residence,” she says.
Whereas at DRS, Jones was chosen because the All-Massive Bend Participant of the 12 months and Florida Gatorade Participant of the 12 months in 2016, and completed her highschool profession with greater than 2,000 factors, 1,000 rebounds, 500 assists and 500 steals.
Staying motivated and targeted required plenty of arduous work and sacrifices alongside the way in which. “My motivation was that I used to be the little child who appeared as much as gamers like LeBron and Maya Moore, saying, I need that. I need to play within the League and have the ability to give again to my neighborhood,” she says.
Jones continues: “My motivation is to make it in order that I may give again to my highschool, my metropolis and people who helped me alongside the way in which. I plan on having my very own AAU workforce, health club and be that function mannequin to different children who’ve the identical dream. I need to actually give again to my neighborhood in Tallahassee.”
Whereas attending the College of Louisville, Jones not solely grew as a participant, but additionally as an individual. Together with serving the neighborhood, Jones grew spiritually as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
“Turning into concerned with FCA helped me to develop nearer to God,” Jones says. “I additionally went on a mission journey to Jamaica, and that have brought on me to develop as an individual and be selfless and never take issues as a right and be extra appreciative.”
Whereas additionally serving as vp for the ACC Scholar Athlete Advisory Committee, Jones would learn to children and do neighborhood cleanups. “I really like giving again to the neighborhood—rising nearer to individuals from all walks of life and totally different pursuits,” she says.
This season, the WNBA and WNBPA created a brand new platform in response to the social and racial inequalities that exist within the nation: The Justice Motion.
“Being all girls, we’re utilizing our voice to assist make change, and to be a voice for the unvoiced. In the end, I need to see justice for Breonna Taylor and for the entire victims who’ve misplaced their lives to police brutality. I pray each day for my shut pals which can be Black males,” Jones says.
Jones continues to shine not solely on the hardwood however exterior of the sport as effectively. She is going to make her rookie debut on July 25 in opposition to the Seattle Storm. This stage is a great distance from Tallahassee, however actually one which Jones has ready for all of her life.
Ashton Edmunds is an intern at SLAM. Observe him on Instagram @ae11_.
Pictures by way of Getty Photos