Bulldogs Add Transfer Ashley Jones
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State added Temple transfer Ashley Jones to its 2021 class, head coach Nikki McCray-Penson announced on Friday.
“I chose to come to Mississippi State to have an opportunity to play for a coach with pro ball experience and defensive skills that can help me build on my skillset to be ready for the next level,” said Jones. “I also chose MSU because it is a great basketball program, and I feel comfortable with all the coaches and staff. It seems like a family-oriented program.”
Jones, the 2019-20 American Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year, averaged 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game last season. She was also named Second Team All-AAC after leading the Owls in assists and ranking second on the team in scoring and steals while starting 21 out of 28 games.
The athletic guard finds ways to score, finishing with double-digit scoring 23 times and eclipsing the 20-point margin on nine occasions. Jones is also good at creating opportunities for her teammates, recording five or more assists in 13 games. For the season, she shot 41 percent from the floor, knocked down 51 3-pointers and was an 80-percent free throw shooter.
“We are really excited about adding Ashley to our squad,” said McCray-Penson. “She is a competitor and can score the basketball. She has played at a high level against quality competition. She is going to add depth to our guard play, but she brings experience. That is what we need. We need experienced ball handlers. She has a motor and plays how I want to play. I am really excited for her to join our team.”
Jones will sit out the remainder of this season and will be a redshirt junior when she becomes eligible during the 2021-22 campaign.
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, native originally signed with West Virginia out of high school before transferring to Temple in 2018. With the Mountaineers, Jones appeared in all 36 games during the 2017-18 season and posted 2.8 points per game to go along with 27 steals, 65 rebounds, and 84 assists.
Jones was ranked as the No. 75 overall player in the country and the No. 15 point guard by ESPN out of high school. She was a three-time All-State selection out of Neumann-Goretti Catholic High School.
“Coach McCray has a great resume that speaks for itself, and she has put forth an effort to get to know me personally and shows interest in building a relationship with me,” said Jones. “I also believe that she will be able to get me ready for the next level. I am most excited about getting on campus and getting to meet my teammates and coaches and being able to build a bond with them. Most importantly, I am looking forward to playing in a competitive conference like the SEC.
“I would like to thank God above all for giving me another opportunity. I would also like to thank my parents and brothers for always standing by me and cheering me on. Lastly, I would like to thank Coach McCray and the staff for giving me an opportunity to play for them.”