Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

March 16, 2012

Jones signs with ’Canes

Lowndes point guard heading to Georgia Southwestern

VALDOSTA — For the past four years, Danyelle Jones has left her mark on the girls basketball team at Lowndes High School.

Now, the senior will look to do the same thing at Georgia Southwestern, after the point guard signed a national letter of intent to the school on Thursday.

“I just felt like it was a good fit,” Jones said. “It is a small school, close to home and it seemed like it would be a good fit for me.”

Jones was a pivotal part of Lowndes’ success the past four seasons, including this year. Jones served as the point guard and leader of the offense during the Vikettes’ run through the year, which featured 25 victories and a Region 1-AAAAA basketball tournament championship.

“It is like I told her mom, it is like watching one of my kids sign,” Lowndes head coach Shan Garner said. “I watched her in middle school, I kept an eye on her down there, and she had a great career there. She played here four years and started three. So, it is unreal for her. It just proves it doesn’t matter how large you are in this sport, if you have a little fight in you and you have a big heart, you can make anything happen.”

Despite being a part of 87 victories compared to just 26 losses in her high school career, Jones said playing basketball at Lowndes was much more than wins and losses.

“It was more than just basketball,” Jones said. “(Coach Garner) taught was how to be successful and what is more important in life. It was very important to me.”

Jones made her living driving to the lane and attacking the basket, often making plays out of nothing. She finished her senior year averaging 7.3 points per game, 4.12 assists per contest and 1.9 steals.

“We have always known that we were solid at that position,” Garner said of Jones’ play. “(We have) big shoes to fill, you know metaphorically speaking because I think she wears like a size seven, but big shoes to fill as far as the direction of the program.”

Jones will join a Georgia Southwestern team that posted an 18-9 record in 2011-12. Despite the success by Southwestern in recent years, Jones says she is aiming at becoming a starter in her freshman season, saying she wants to play and contribute.

“I want to start next year,” Jones said. “That is my goal for next year. I want to start as a freshman...I want to be a conference champion. Hopefully I can get one next year.”

“She had a huge impact on this region, this year and all four years,” Garner said. “(She) has been on the all-region team three times and for her to sign, she is signing somewhere where she can play early on. She is smart and understands that in the big scheme of things, you can go to a larger school and sit there a couple of years, but she wants to play. She is going to a nice Division II school.”

If Jones is able to earn the starting spot, one of her very first collegiate games could be played in Valdosta, as Southwestern’s second game of this past season was a visit to Valdosta State.

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