If you only casually watched the WNBA regular season, you may have assumed that the 2021 WNBA MVP award would go to one of the regular candidates. Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson were popular preseason picks, and both All-Stars had terrific seasons.
But this year’s MVP trophy will not be awarded to a previous winner. While the league has yet to release the official voting results, the discussion is now over. Go ahead and send those congratulatory tweets to Jonquel jones.
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The Connecticut Sun forward has an airtight case, having checked all the usual boxes. She is the leader of the best team in the WNBA and has been instrumental in Sun’s success on both ends.
How did Jones prepare to join the most exclusive club in the WNBA? Here’s everything you need to know about Jones and his impressive rise.
Who is Jonquel Jones?
Jones was born in the Bahamas, but his basketball journey really began when he moved to Maryland at the age of 14. She attended Riverdale Baptist High School and coach Diane Richardson became her legal guardian. After showing her talent on Riverdale and being named the 2011-12 Gatorade Maryland Women’s Basketball Player of the Year In his senior year, Jones became only the third female basketball player in the Bahamas to earn a Division I scholarship straight out of high school.
While spending time at Clemson as a freshman, Jones rose to fame after transferring to George Washington. He finished his university career classified in the top five on George Washington’s all-time charts for points per game, total rebounds and total blocks.
The Los Angeles Sparks selected Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft, then traded his rights along with a second-round pick to the Sun in exchange for Chelsea Gray and multiple draft picks.
“It is a dream come true,” Jones said after being redacted. “When I was a little kid, I thought about being in this moment and just thinking about walking across the stage and getting your shirt and all that stuff, and now it’s happening.”
The rise of Jonquel Jones with the Connecticut Sun
Jones played limited minutes in his rookie season, averaging 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game. She burst onto the scene in her sophomore year, jumping to 15.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 28.5 minutes per game and earning her first place in the All-Star Game. He also won the 2017 Most Improved Player award.
Despite a smaller role next season, Jones thrived off the bench, capturing the 2018 6th Woman of the Year award. She then returned as a regular starter in 2019, nearly averaging a double-double (14.6 points, 9.7 rebounds). and once again got the all-star go-ahead. She came in third place in the MVP vote behind Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner. The Sun reached the WNBA Finals that season, but lost to the Washington Mystics in five games.
He likely would have continued his career in 2020, but Jones opted out of the WNBA “Wubble” due to concerns about COVID-19.
“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to forgo the next WNBA season and use this time to focus on personal, social and family growth.” Jones said in an Instagram post. “This was one of the most difficult decisions I made, but the resurgence and unknown aspects of COVID-19 have created serious health problems that I am not comfortable competing in.
“I would like to thank the Connecticut Sun organization, my teammates and fans for their unwavering support and understanding. While I will not compete this year, I am looking forward to joining my teammates in 2021 and continuing the pursuit of a championship. WNBA. Wishing the entire league and everyone involved a healthy and enjoyable season. Go Sun! “
Jonquel Jones MVP Season
There was no rust for Jones as he returned to All-Star form in 2021. The 27-year-old posted a career-high 19.4 points with 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game while shooting. 51.5 percent from the field and 26.2 percent from the 3-point range.
Advanced numbers he also supported Jones’ MVP argument. She led the WNBA in winning actions (6.6) and defensive rating (88), and was just behind Griner (28.4) in player efficiency rating (28.3).
In addition to their individual success, the Sun finished with the best record in the league (26-6) and will enter the playoffs as a title favorite after winning their last 14 games. Connecticut will have the advantage of playing at home during the postseason, which is huge considering the Sun were 15-1 at home this year.
Put it all together, and Jones left no doubt as to which player should be the 2021 WNBA MVP. The only real question left for her (and one that scares the rest of the league): What will she do next?
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.