Whenever Jonquel Jones feels like reminiscing about her experience during the 2016 WNBA Draft, she has plenty of people in the Connecticut Sun locker room who can chime in about that special night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Among those waiting along with Jones to hear their names called that evening were Sun teammates Morgan Tuck, Rachel Banham and Courtney Williams.
“I remember having a good time with everyone,” Jones said. “Courtney, Rachel and Morgan, we had a great time. Rachel’s dry humor was making everyone laugh. I think it really is special. We always call ourselves the original class.”
Tuck was selected by the Sun at No. 3, and Banham was picked fourth. Jones was taken sixth by Los Angeles, which traded her to Connecticut. Williams was taken at No. 8 by Phoenix, which later traded her to the Sun.
Thursday night in New York, some of the top prospects in women’s college basketball will be in New York for the 2018 WNBA Draft. The Sun have picks nine, 15 and 33, and will almost certainly end the suspense for someone in that elite group by selecting them in the first round.
Jones vividly remembers what it felt like when her name was called.
“I was just filled with a sense of pride,” she said. “When we were actually down on the floor, starting the process, I remember being anxious and excited. I remember not wanting to go too far, but being excited and ready to go.”
Sun forward Brionna Jones, selected by Connecticut with the eighth overall pick last year, had the same experience.
“I remember just the anticipation of getting your name called and what team you were going to and the nerves, and then getting to share it with my family,” she said. “Everything I worked for came together on that day.”
Jonquel Jones also enjoyed sharing the moment with family. She laughed recalling one particular memory with her father.
“I remember being in the back with all the food (in the green room) and my daddy was back there and he was hungry and he was jamming the food in his mouth,” she said with a chuckle. I was like, ‘Daddy, you can’t eat like that! You’re going to make us look bad.’”
For Brionna Jones, who is completing her first season playing overseas in Russia, the idea that one year has already passed since she was drafted is hard to believe.
“From playing all summer (in the WNBA) and then over here, it’s been a really quick year,” she said, before offering some advice to this year’s group of draft prospects. “Just trust what got them there. They worked hard. They got to the draft. A team wants them for what they can bring to the team. It’s going to be a nervous (day), but don’t make too much of it. You have been playing basketball for a long time. Be confident.”