December 5, 2020 

Mississippi State adds AAC Newcomer of the Year in transfer

The transfer from Temple is a part of the 2021 class

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Mississippi State is playing in the present while keeping an eye on the future. 

The Bulldogs on Friday added Temple transfer Ashley Jones to its 2021 class, the school announced.

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.

In a prepared statement, Jones said she chose Mississippi State because of its “family-oriented program.”

“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.”

Jones, a guard, finished with double-digit scoring 23 times, scoring 20+ points in nine games. She recorded five or more assists in 13 games and for the season 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 head coach Nikki 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 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.

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native 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.

She will sit out the remainder of this season and will be a redshirt junior when she becomes eligible during the 2021-22 campaign.

“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.”

Written by Dorothy J. Gentry

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