UA Women get first commitment

Natalie Jones, a 5-10 point guard from Anchorage (East), Alaska, became to the first player to commit to Head Coach Joan Bonvicini's UA Women's Basketball program this season.

In Jones the Wildcats are getting more than just a great player, they're getting a winner. Her East High School team has won the State Championship the last two seasons and is the odds-on favorite to win again this season. Over the last two seasons East has compiled a 52-2 record.

Jones was born in Belize, then when she was four years old Jones moved to New York City with her mother. Her mother remarried a year later and the family moved on to Anchorage.

"I don't remember Belize or New York," Jones said. "So everything I've ever known is here in Anchorage. I like it here, but I'm ready to move on and I can't wait to go back to Tucson."

Jones took her official UA campus visit Oct. 5 and said, "everything just felt so good."

Jones chose Arizona over Washington, San Diego State and St. Mary's.

"I was really impressed with the academics, the coaching staff and the teammates," Jones said. "I was impressed with how organized everyone is and the CATS program and how the coaching staff stress academics and discipline."

The Wildcat coaching staff was also a big factor in Jones' decision.

"Coach B is so easy to talk to," Jones said. "She doesn't beat around the bush, she just tells you like it is. Some of the other coaches who recruited me wouldn't tell what I needed to work on and Coach Bonvicini did. I can talk to her about anything, basketball or personal stuff." Jones might be stressing academics and she's always been a very good student, but she will certainly give the Wildcats a player who will blend in well with Bonvicini's athletic, full-court, fast-paced style of play.

Jones is cat-quick, has great ball skills, sees the floor like a point and can put points on the board in a variety of ways.

"My strengths are I'm a hard worker and I'm a good defender," Jones said. "I can take it off the dribble, my handle is fine and I think I see the court. My weakness is defending down low. I'm not as good at defending in the post."

Because Jones is from a more remote part of our country, many coaches feel she was under-recruited. Regardless, she did make a mark for herself at the recent July summer camps.

"I have a saying," Jones said of how she approached the summer camps. "I didn't come her to be unnoticed. I didn't come all the way down here from Alaska to go unnoticed. I wanted some recognition."

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