Meet Stanford-Bound Haley Jones, the Top-Ranked High School Women’s Player in the Country
Haley Jones is the little engine that could.
Check that. Haley Jones is the big engine that can.
The 6-foot-1 guard, who played four years at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California, without missing the academic honor roll, is simply spectacular. She creates shots, scores from everywhere and is an enthusiastic rebounder.
The Stanford-bound Jones, ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100, won the Naismith Trophy as the Girls’ High School Player of the Year.
How good is she? Jones passed three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings (beach volleyball) as Mitty’s all-time leading scorer with 2,127 points, and set the school career record for shooting percentage at 63%.
She also was one of six U.S. athletes who recently took part in the NCAA’s Next Generation during the NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 5 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The NCAA Next Generation is a minicamp for USA Basketball Junior National Team athletes, as well as those from around the world from the NBA Academy.
“It’s an honor every time I have the opportunity to play with USA Basketball or try out for a USA Basketball team,” the 17-year-old Jones said. “To be here at the Final Four, which is one of the biggest events in women’s basketball, I’m excited for the opportunity to play with these girls and to see the Final Four.”
Jones has racked up nearly every honor possible, including the 2019 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year, as well as being named to the 2019 McDonald’s All-American and 2018 USA Today All-USA teams.
But just because she’s the No. 1 recruit in the country, that doesn’t mean that it has been a smooth road for Jones, who on April 13-14 took part in the 2019 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Championships and finished second as a member of Quest (6-2).
She also took part in the 2017 U16 National Team Trials and made it as far as the final 18, but not the final cut. She participated in the 2016 USA U17 World Cup Team Trials and the 2015 USA U16 National Team Trials.
Jones persevered and finally made the 2018 U17 FIBA World Cup team that went 7-0 in Minsk, Belarus, to win the gold medal. She started all seven games and averaged 10.9 points, 3.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game while being named to the tournament’s All-Star Five.
“I’ve learned who I can really trust and who is really there through the ups and downs,” Jones said. “I’ve created a lot of relationships and have grown through this process. One of the best things I learned from my support groups is how to remain humble all the time.”
Jones also recently was named one of 30 athletes who will participate in the 2019 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team trials. The trials, which are being held May 16-19 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will be used to select the official 12-member USA U19 World Cup Team.
For some people with her level of talent, remaining humble would be difficult, but her parents Monique and Patrick both coached her when she was younger and instilled the need for discipline and hard work.
Her older brother Cameron plays basketball at Linfield College. Her cousin is DeLisha Milton-Jones, a two-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist and the current coach at Pepperdine University.
Jones said she has become close with Milton-Jones. The two text each other fairly often, but Pepperdine was never really in the mix.
“She was an amazing player,” Jones said. “She did everything on the court, and I think it’s inspiring to watch the videos of her from when she played.”
Jones, the first No. 1 prospect to sign with Stanford since Chiney Ogwumike in 2009, is equally inspiring.
“She's the most versatile player in the country,” Archbishop Mitty coach Sue Phillips told EPSN. “She's the type of kid who can fit into any system.”
That’s exactly the talent level she displayed at the U17 World Cup and in a three-game sweep of Canada, China and Latvia at an exhibition tournament in Liepaja, Latvia, prior to the World Cup.
“That was my first time out of the country, and the whole experience is hard to describe,” Jones said. “The travel experience was great. We went to Latvia, drove through Lithuania, drove through Belarus. We had lots of fun traveling with the girls and playing with them every day. You’re competing against the best competition in the nation every day at practice and in shoot-arounds.”
Jones made all five official college campus visits, then sat down with her family to go over notes and compare each situation. In the end, Stanford was the choice, and even though location didn’t factor into the decision, the school happens to be just an hour or so from her home, giving her family ample opportunity to see her play.
She’s looking forward to helping Stanford get to the Final Four and beyond, and she’s also got the WNBA in her five-year plan. But there is another factor she’s looking forward to as well with Stanford.
“Outside of athletics, one of those paths is to become a sports psychologist for professional athletes,” said Jones. “Or a sports broadcaster.”
Jones may have been an observer at the Final Four this year. Expect her to play a bigger role in the coming years.