Player Profile: Mone Jones
Dec. 11, 2015
A talented player in high school, freshman MonÃ© Jones has already seen plenty of action for the Virginia women’s basketball team to begin the 2015-16 season. Jones was a four-star recruit out of Durham, N.C., where nearby by ACC foe Duke resides, but it was the atmosphere at UVA that drew her to pursue her college career on Grounds in Charlottesville.
“It felt like a home-away-from-home for me,” Jones said. “The first day I stepped on Grounds on my unofficial visit, I really just fell in love with it. Academics really played a big part in it because basketball is going to stop sometime, so I really wanted to further my education. This is a great spot for me. I play in the best conference in the nation with very good competition, so I’m really happy with my choice.”
With UVA just three hours from home, and two road trips a year to the Research Triangle for the North Carolina native, Jones said her family has been very supportive about the decision and love watching her play.
“I don’t get to go home a lot but they come up here all the time,” Jones said. “It’s also a perk that I stayed in the ACC so I get to go to Duke and NC State and my family gets to come and see me play at home too. It’s a perfect situation.”
The love of the game started early for Jones, but success did not come all that easy for the 6-foot-3 forward. Through hard work and determination she developed as the No. 18 prospect in the ESPNW Hoopgurlz Terrific 25 for the class of 2015.
“I started playing basketball when I was six years old,” Jones said. “It was an Upward league, which is a youth church league. At first, I was not the best, but I kept playing and I fell in love with it.”
It was the constant activity that really sparked Jones’ interest in the game, then the competitiveness kicked in and her drive to win quickly took over. That drive is a big reason that she has seen success at such an early stage in her career.
“I loved being active, and in basketball you’re always active,” Jones said. “I’m very competitive and it’s a very competitive sport to be in. My favorite thing about playing is the competitive drive, the drive to win. I love winning more than I hate losing, which is really a big thing for me. The competitive nature of the game and just to see my teammates go at it, I love it. I also love being around a team-oriented game.”
With seven games under her belt at the college level, Jones has been a key reserve off the bench for the Cavaliers so far in the 2015-16 season.
“The pace of the game is totally different from high school,” Jones said. “Getting up and down the court in transition defense and going into transition offense is totally different. It’s a lot faster, people are a lot stronger and people are more skilled. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Luckily Jones has a group of upperclassmen with plenty of experience at the college level to help her with the transition. One of three freshmen on this year’s team, Jones can learn from players like senior Second Team All-ACC selection Faith Randolph.
“The upperclassmen helped me out so much,” Jones said. “Every single day they are just talking to me, encouraging me and giving me pointers to help me in my game. I really appreciate them.”
She doesn’t just enjoy playing basketball though. It has also translated into a potential career for the first-year. Jones is planning to major in media studies and wants to be a sports analyst one day once she is done playing.
“I love talking about the game of basketball, or any sport,” Jones said. “I really just watch sports every day. If you just go in my dorm room, ESPN is always on. But I really enjoy watching them talk. I really want to pursue it as a profession because you don’t just talk about the game, but you get to show off your personality as well.”
“I think playing in the ACC helps me a lot because I will be getting the exposure and chance to further my knowledge in the game,” Jones said. “Playing at the college level offers you a different experience then just playing in youth or high school. When I get to the point that I want to pursue that field, I will be able to use my experiences to better analyze games and relay information to the fans watching.”
Before she has to worry about getting a job, Jones can just enjoy her first season of college basketball at Virginia.