Duke’s Jones goes for another FIBA gold

Jul. 08, 2013 @ 11:26 PM

Her college basketball career may be but a year old, but Duke’s Alexis Jones is a veteran at heading overseas to represent her country.

After winning the ACC Tournament most valuable player award as a freshman last March, Jones will shoot for her third gold medal later this month as she plays for USA Basketball in the FIBA U19 World Championships.

A 5-8 playmaking guard, Jones played on the 2010 U18 National Team and the U19 team in 2011. Both took gold medals.

“Lex is an incredibly patriotic person,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said “She loves representing her country. It’s been a great experience for her and at the same time it has developed her game to another level.”

A prep star in Irving, Texas before coming to Duke, Jones led the Blue Devils with 144 assists last season. She led Duke to its eighth ACC Championship by averaging 17.7 points, six assists, five rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. 

In the ACC Tournament championship game against North Carolina, Jones collected 24 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. The Blue Devils won the championship despite being without junior guard Chelsea Gray, the ACC’s co-player of the year who suffered a season-ending knee injury in February.

For the season, Jones averaged 13.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.

In May, she was invited to tryout for the USA Basketball national team again. Head coach Katie Meier, the former Duke star who is Miami’s head coach, selected Jones along with 11 other players from around the country.

Among her teammates are three players from NCAA champion Connecticut -- Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck.

This time, as an international veteran, Jones said she’ll have an expanded role.

“I think my role is changing,” Jones said. “I’m more of a leader now than sitting back watching, standing and watching the other top players who I played with. Now I’m more of a leader, and I’m trying to guide people in helping them out during the situation we’ll be going through because I’ve been there before.”

Team USA regrouped at the USA Basketball National Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., on July 1 for practices. The team will leave for the U19 World Championships on Thursday.

The games will be played July 18-28 in Lithuania.

Jones’ Duke teammate, rising senior Tricia Liston, is participating in the World University Games with USA Basketball’s national team in Russia this week. McCallie said the experience both players get will only make them better players for Duke this season.

“It increases motivation,” McCallie said. “Once they get back get a rest and get back at it, they have the game experience, the international experience and the motivation because they elevated their game and reputations to a unique level.”

Jones said playing with USA on her uniform makes it unique.

“The best thing is just that you’re representing your country, and you have that jersey on,” Jones said. “You’re out there showing everyone that you’re going to represent the right way.”