Where are they now? UConn Women's Basketball star Asjha Jones
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 01:02
In 1998, UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma was able to pull off one of the best recruiting classes in school history when five All-Americans – Swin Cash, Sue Bird, Keirsten Walters, Tamika Williams and Asjha Jones – all signed on to play for the Huskies.
While Cash’s and Bird’s names are some of the more resonant ones in women’s basketball today, Asjha Jones’ should be not lost in the shuffle as well.
Growing up in Piscataway, N.J. as a self-proclaimed “tomboy,” Jones picked up the sport of basketball at an early age. Shortly after she discovered that she had a knack for the game, Jones began playing AAU ball when she turned 11 years old.
After being named the MVP of her summer league when she was in eighth grade, Jones went on to attend Piscataway Township High School. There, she would set the school record for total points and rebounds. The feat drew college scouts’ attention and earned her both McDonalds and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American honors.
When it came time for Jones to choose which college she would enroll in, it was no surprise that Rutgers University, which is also located in Piscataway, made feverish attempts to recruit her. However, Jones wanted to leave her hometown and spurned the Scarlet Knights to commit to the Huskies instead.
Jones would go on to have an outstanding career for UConn at the forward/center position. In the 1999-2000 season, she was selected alongside her teammates Shea Ralph, Svetlana Abrosimova and Sue Bird as four of the five All-Tournament Team players, all while helping Auriemma to defeat bitter rival Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament finals and capture the second national championship in school history.
The next season, Jones and company fell short of repeating their success after losing in the Final Four to Notre Dame. But it wasn’t long before UConn returned to the top of women’s college basketball world, as Jones finished her career with the Huskies by winning another national title in 2002, which went on to spark a historical three-time repeat for the program.
Apart from the two titles in her four-year career at UConn, Jones also averaged 10.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. She had suffered only nine losses in contrast to the 136 victories she experienced as a Husky.
Following her last year in Storrs, Jones declared for the 2002 WNBA Draft and was selected as the fourth overall pick by the Washington Mystics.
After spending two mediocre seasons in Washington, D.C., Jones was included in a three-team trade that sent her to the Connecticut Sun, where she still plays to this day.
As a 10-year veteran and two-time All-Star in the WNBA so far, Jones has averaged 11.4 ppg and 5.0 rpg. During the offseasons, Jones often competed in European leagues as well.
Over the past summer, Jones, along with five other former Huskies, were selected by Auriemma as members of the United States women’s national basketball team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The team defeated France in the finals to capture a fifth consecutive gold medal in Olympic competitions for Team USA.
Outside of basketball, Jones has also launched her own designer shoe line called “Takera Shoes,” labeled after her middle name. The line offers luxury brand shoes to women who wear shoes between the sizes of 10.5 to 15.