Now that the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) season has boiled down to just two remaining teams, the majority of players that play for non-contenders are beginning to make their way abroad to begin prepping for their winter seasons.
It’s very common for professional women players to play in two leagues, and Grand Bahama native Jonquel Jones is no exception. She was drafted this summer by Woori BankHansae Chuncheon to play in the Korean League, starting in November.
Although the competition may not be as stiff as in the WNBA, overseas leagues usually pay more and are used to help further develop player’s skills while they’re away from the WNBA.
Both Jones and Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller are anxious to see how she develops in Korea. Jones, who led the nation in rebounds as a GW senior, was selected sixth overall by Los Angeles but later traded on draft night to Connecticut, where she played her rookie season.
“She’s got to dedicate herself to being a pro: the nutrition, strength and training, the conditioning aspect,” he said. “She’s got to get stronger. It depends also on how much she puts into it.”
Jones said: “It’s a great league for player development. I see that [Korea play] as an opportunity to make money but also get better, so when I come back next WNBA season I will be able to do more stuff that I wasn’t able to do this year.”
Although bigger players in the paint sometimes overpowered her, Jones still managed to lead the Sun in blocks and finished third among rookies in that category.
“I would say it’s been a learning experience,” Jones said of her time in the WNBA thus far. “The transition has been a challenging one. But it also has been one I wouldn’t trade — a lot of people would like to be in our places to play professional basketball as a profession.”
Just before the Olympic break, Jones had the best night of her young career against Chicago with her first double-double performance-20 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.