College coaches hounding trail of Ferriday’s Jones

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 10, 2003

FERRIDAY, La. &045; The way Monique Jones sees it, there may be no bigger question at school or in the community than where she is going to play college basketball.

The answer?

It could be any of the following three &045; Texas Southern, Alabama A&M or Baylor &045; or anybody else who shows interest from now until signing day.

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The Ferriday guard isn’t limiting her choices to those three and will take all things into consideration before making the decision that has seemingly everyone she knows on the edge of their seat.

&uot;It’s kind of fun keeping people on pins and needles,&uot; Jones said. &uot;They ask, ‘Where is she going?’ I don’t know, but it’s a lot of fun. Everybody at school, the community and our opponents &045; we’re on the court playing, and people are asking me, ‘Where are you going to school?’

&uot;I thought it was an easy decision growing up, but it’s a hard decision.&uot;

The new prospects continue to come into the picture, especially since she scored an 18 on her ACT in the fall. Jones said she’s unsure whether she’ll commit before the season is up or wait until the signing period after the season is over April 16-May 15 as mandated by the Collegiate Commissioners Association.

By then other schools may show interest, just as Alabama-Birmingham has done recently.

&uot;A couple of colleges still haven’t realized that I haven’t committed yet,&uot; Jones said. &uot;There’s probably more coming. I’ve got to take some visits and see what they’ve got. You don’t want to make the wrong decision. I want to get as much information as I can from my high school coaches, my teammates and everybody. I want to take my time and make the decision that is right for me.&uot;

Until then, more schools will continue with calls, letters and other items as it gets closer to signing period. Coaches have also made plans to attend a Ferriday game, and Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey-Robinson will attend the Lady Trojans game against Neville Jan. 21 at the Ferriday gym.

&uot;I’m getting sick of it (the calls), really, but that’s good she’s getting recognized,&uot; said Ferriday head coach Lisa Abron, who played college ball at Texas Southern. &uot;I think it’s becoming reality to her now how much people are interested. When I first told her about Baylor, her eyes popped open and she said, ‘For real?’ It’s time for her to decide which way she wants to go.&uot;

So far Jones has taken a visit to Alabama A&M and was in attendance for Texas Southern’s game Saturday Alcorn State. Mulkey-Robertson’s associate coach attended Ferriday’s game at Block last month.

&uot;I want to be a great asset to the team,&uot; Jones said. &uot;They (A&M) really need a guard, and I think I can really help the team with my shooting. The campus is real nice. The people, the team, the coaches and everybody &045; it was like a family. It’s the type of situation I want to be in. I don’t want to be homesick.

&uot;Everybody said don’t go black school or don’t go small school. It’s not the school you go to. It’s what you do at the school. You’ve got to keep working hard.&uot;

It’s the defense that may be garnering more attention from college coaches this year. Jones was more of a scoring threat last season in the Lady Trojans’ 25-4 season that ended in the Class 2A semifinals against Christian Life.

&uot;Most of your scorers are not really good defensive players,&uot; Abron said. &uot;She has improved in that area, and it’s showing a little bit. She’s not talking ‘I’ any more. She’s talking team effort and whatever way she can help the team. Everybody looks up to her. She’s been that way since Day 1 as a freshman.&uot;

The other thing on her mind is finishing out the season and her career on a high note. Right now the Lady Trojans are 18-0 and host Class 4A Wossman tonight in what may be one of their tougher games of the season.

Jones likes the makeup of this year’s team and is hoping to get a little farther later this spring.

&uot;We’re determined to get that ring this year,&uot; Jones said. &uot;I’m looking all positives and no negatives. We’ve got to be a team. I’ve always been known as an offensive player, but I know when I go to college I’ll have to be a defensive player. Steals, assists, scoring &045; I’m a team player.&uot;