Jonquel Jones. AP
The Freeport News has named its top Grand Bahamian athlete for 2019.
It’s none other than the uniquely-talented female basketball player Jonquel Jones.
Previously, annual sports achievement awards had been given out, mostly, and full support goes to Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Steven Gardiner, Tynia Gaither, Chavano “Buddy” Hield, Anthaya Charlton and such. Their performances and those of others who enhanced The Bahamas’ sports brand verified that the area of national sports continues to be the most glittering aspect of Bahamian life.
Grand Bahama (GB), once one of the great sports meccas of the region, even comparable to New Providence, again contributed mightily to the positive image of this country through sports, in the persons, (especially) of Jonquel Jones, Hield and Gaither.
Today I wish to focus on the top sports performers from the northern Bahamas, Grand Bahama.
Jones, who technically remains a Bahamian although she is eligible to play for Bosnia, had another sensational year. She is one of the best female basketball players in the entire world. In 2019, she was again the top rebounder in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), an all-star, and she led the Connecticut Sun to within a game of the WNBA Championship.
Jones averaged 9.7 rebounds and totaled a WNBA-leading 330. She was also the top shot blocker in the WNBA last season, at a 2.0 average, with a leading total of 68. She was 12th in scoring at 14.6.
Jones climaxed her season by leading the Sun against the Washington Mystics, ultimately falling in five games, with the WNBA title on the line.
Hield had a breakthrough season, which has continued into the first part of 2020. He continued where he left off in personal statistics when the NBA started the present season in late 2019. DeAndre Ayton was the No.1 NBA Draft selection, and played quite well in his rookie year with the Phoenix Suns.
Jones, though, pound for pound, arguably was the best Bahamian basketball player. Hield, of the Sacramento Kings, established himself as one of the elite long-range shooters in basketball, and his game generally rounded out into a category poised for acknowledged stardom. However, The Freeport News tabbed him second to Jones among the Grand Bahamian sports top achievers.
Gaither came into her own as a top world sprinter. She captured the lone medal (bronze) for The Bahamas at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Her clocking of 22.76 seconds was good enough for third in the women’s 200 meters (m), but her personal best for the event is 22.54. She has a personal best of 11.04 seconds in the 100m. The Pan Am bronze medal legitimized her as an elite world athlete.
Jones, Hield and Gaither were easily in a class by themselves as Grand Bahamian sports achievers. Hopefully they have inspired others to work hard to heighten their personal levels of achievements.
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