NICKERSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Ava Jones is an all-state basketball forward from Nickerson, a town with less than a 1,000 people.
“I drive through here and honk at probably five people because I know everybody,” said Jones.
But in two years, Jones will be saying goodbye to small-town Kansas and saying hello to one of the biggest public universities in the country, Arizona State University (ASU). Jones Committed to ASU during her sophomore year, over many programs, including Iowa State and Nebraska. The PAC-12 presented a challenge she couldn’t pass up with programs like Arizona, Oregon, and Stanford.
“Being able to play them in conference play, that’ll give you a great head start to what you’ll see after,” said Jones.
Jones didn’t start playing competitive basketball until sixth grade. She had the size but had to work for everything else.
“She has really put in a lot of time in the gym working on her skills and has just become a very solid player,” said Nickerson girls basketball coach Jon McLean.
And that hard work is paying off. In her junior season, Jones is averaging around 21 points per game and 17 rebounds.
“She’s by far one of the best really I’ve seen in my 30 years of coaching, whether boy or girl.”
Through three years at Nickerson, Jones has joined the 1,000 point club and has led her team to back-to-back state tournaments. But when asked what else she wants to accomplish, she didn’t have to think twice.
“Definitely winning a state championship,” said Jones. “That’s the main focus right now.”
The Panthers are 10-0 on the season, so safe to say they are on the right track.