For months, Cardinalmaniacs™ have been feeling in the dark for news on the the Stanford Women's Basketball 2006 recruiting class. Girls hoops recruiting is still a market with spotty coverage, and it was only thanks to the work of Scout.com's Glenn Nelson and Clay Kallam that Beaverton (Ore.) point guard J.J. Hones came onto our radar in June. Hones was on display as one of the 34 select invitees to the 2005 USA Women's Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs (Colo.), where she broke the single-game steals record, snaring seven steals in a preliminary round game. Hones finished the festival tied for fifth in steals and 10th in assists.
The news we did not know at the time was that the 5'10" point guard had just finished the work on the Stanford admissions application, before making the trek to the Centennial State. That would be news enough, but the behind the scenes story was more interesting yet.
"I really don't know when everything all started, but in February or March, the coaches told me they would send me an admissions application packet," Hones begins. "That was the point when I knew Stanford was serious about me. But come April, I didn't have it yet. Them Amy Tucker watched me at a clinic, and right after that I received the application."
"I turned in my application to Stanford before going to the USA [Youth Development] Festival, but I found out that I didn't have one of my teacher recommendations in," she explains. "I was so stressed. They had everything in from me before June 15, but I couldn't get ahold of my teacher. That didn't get in to Stanford until a couple weeks later."
There is basketball a-plenty throughout the busy summer travel season for girls like Hones, but she could not help her worry and wonder about the Stanford admissions application.
"I was waiting all this time to see if I got in to Stanford," she admits. "That would determine if I could even go to Stanford. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but that was where I wanted to be."
Hones had the Cardinal in a small group of favorites, along with Oregon, UC-Santa Barbara and Boston College. Those three had all tendered scholarship offers to the Beaverton student-athlete, but with Stanford, all hinged upon the admissions process.
"The coaches heavily hinted that once I was accepted, I would have an offer, but they never actually said it," she shares. "They didn't want to raise and then crush my hopes."
Meteoric news impacted the Oregonian yesterday, though it was hardly crushing.
"Amy [Tucker] text messaged me to call Tara [VanDerveer]," Hones recalls of Tuesday's events. "I called Tara and she told me I was accepted. That was exciting. I hung up and thought about it all day. I called back at 8:00 and committed to Stanford."
J.J. Hones is the the first Cardinal commit in the 2006 class, though she is the second recruit in the rising senior class to have gained admission to The Farm. Elite 6'4" center Jayne Appel was the first admit of the class, and Appel was one of the first to hear the newest developments from Hones.
"I text messaged Jayne today and told her, 'What are you waiting for? Commit to Stanford already!' I did the same with Michelle Harrison - the forward from Utah," Hones says. "Michelle hasn't sent her application in yet. She's slacking. I told her to get on that."
Hones scored an 1170 on the old SAT and more recently an 1880 on the new SAT, and she carries a perfect 4.0 GPA at Southridge High School in Beaverton, never having recorded anything below an 'A' in her high school career. She is tied for #1 in her class, though that may change within the next year. Her school is switching from an unweighted GPA scoring to a weighted system, which will more widely distributed the averages of students.
"I don't have a complete load of I.B. classes," she says of her International Baccalaureate coursework at Southridge. "There are a couple students in my class who will have all I.B. classes, so when we go to a weighted average at the end of next year, they might move ahead of me in the rankings."
Hones has only tears of joy to shed today, however. Her consolation prize of a Stanford admissions acceptance and scholarship is quite sufficient to ease the pain of a dashed valedictorian dream.
Oregon was the first school to tender a scholarship to Hones, dating back a year ago, before she started her junior year of high school. Others, including Boston College and Santa Barbara followed, but there was some mild pressure to stay close to home.
"My dad loves Stanford, but he joked with me that I should just get this all out of the way and commit to Oregon," Hones shares. "It would only be two hours away."
"But everybody up here is awestruck right now about the name. Stanford is so prestigious," she says of her verbal commitment. "Everyone is just amazed that someone got accepted. And to get a scholarship from Stanford is a big deal."
The 5'10" guard earned her attention for her basketball abilities as well as her classroom performances. Hones received First Team All-State Tournament honors in Oregon this past winter, after averaging more than 13 points per game and dishing out 5.1 assists per contest.
"When I talked with Tara yesterday, she said she loved how I passed the ball and that I have a good understanding of the game," the recruit reveals. "I can shoot and I can drive. I've played point guard all my life. Stanford has never seen me at the 'two'. I know they have three guards who handle the ball... That works perfect for me."
During the AAU/travel season, you can see Hones play in many events with her high school team. Southridge stays tightly bonded in the off-season, though for the events they do not play, Hones will suit up with Team Concept. The last major event of the summer where you can see the new Cardinal commit will be held at the end of this month in San Diego (July 27-31) at the Midsummer Night Madness.
Of course, the most mysterious piece of the puzzle in mapping out this Southridge HS senior is the "J.J." Just where did that come from?
"When I was really little and would play with kids, they could not pronounce 'Jennifer.' So they just came up with J.J. That's what I'm told," Hones explains. "Plus, I was a tomboy when I was little, and 'Jennifer' sounded too girly. [laughs] I don't think I'll be changing anytime soon. I don't think I'd respond if anyone called me Jennifer."
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