Former UConn star Asja Jones named to Olympic squad
Jones joined her former collegiate teammates Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Diana Taurasi as well as fellow former Huskies Tina Charles and Maya Moore as Connecticut graduates comprise half of the 12-member team.
"It's an honor," said Jones in a statement. "My mom, everyone in my family is so excited for me. I think it's exciting how people respond to you when you tell them. A lot of people want to cry. Just to see the way people react to the news is really special. I'm really excited. I'm so excited to be a part of this.
"It was kind of like I was in disbelief and shock,I kind of put the Olympics out of my head because I didn't think I was going to be on the team. First I was surprised that (USA Basketball Women's National Team Director) Carol (Callan) was even calling me. Then when I answered and she told me the news, I was very surprised, very shocked. I was really, really honored to be picked up."
USA Basketball named the first 11 players at a press conference in Denver last month. The belief at the time was the Baylor's Brittney Griner was going to be the 12th member of the team but the selection committee did not want to burden her with Olympic-related questions with Baylor competing at the Final Four and that she would be named to the team at a later date. However, Griner recently announced that she was withdrawing her name from consideration for a spot. With the team set to hold a training camp from May 11-13 in Seattle, USA Basketball decided to name the 12th and final player on Monday.
"I'm excited," said U.S. national team and UConn head coach Geno Auriemma in a statement. "I think it's well deserved. She adds an awful lot of maturity, experience and talent to this team. Some of the teams that we're going to have to beat in the Olympics, the best teams are really the ones who have the most experienced post players. Asjha has proven herself both in the WNBA and overseas to be able to defend anybody and to be able to score. She's got experience. All of the things you would look for in a player, she has those qualities. So, when we're looking at who that 12th player was, having somebody with Asjha's experience and certainly what she's done overseas, especially this year, has given us a lot of comfort knowing that we have somebody who can really compliment the other post players who have already been named."