USA Basketball names Ashja Jones to 2012 Olympic team, completes roster
USA Basketball announced the selection of 6-3 forward Ashja Jones as the final member of the 2012 Olympic team today. The Connecticut graduate joins six former UConn players on the team. Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi were named to the squad on March 30. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma coaches the Olympic team.
"It’s an honor," said Jones about being named to the team. "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.”
Jones, a 10-year WNBA veteran, currently plays for the Connecticut Sun. She is a two-time WNBA All-Star. In Europe, she plays for Rivas Ecopolis in Spain. She helped the team win the 2012 EuroLeague championship game.
"It was kind of like I was in disbelief and shock," said Jones about hearing the Olympic news. "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 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."
Auriemma praised Jones’ skills and knowledge.
"I’m excited," said Auriemma. "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.”
Connecticut has the most players on the 2012 team with Tennessee and Louisiana State each having two players competing at the London Games this summer.
“I would like to think that one: it’s a coincidence,” said Auriemma about the number of UConn players on the team. “[R]egardless of who the coach was, there’s a pretty good chance that every one of those players would be on this team. They earned it. All the accolades that these players have gotten, they didn’t get those accolades because they played at UConn. They got those accolades because of what they’ve done in their pro careers since they left Connecticut. That speaks to their talent and their level of being able to win at every level they’ve been at. They didn’t make the team because I’m the coach. They made the team because they deserve to be on the team.”