WNCAAB: Iowa F Ava Jones retires from college basketball

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Iowa sophomore forward Ava Jones, who was seriously injured as a pedestrian hit by an impaired driver before she ever played for the Hawkeyes, will take a medical disqualification and retire from college basketball.

Hawkeyes coach Jan Jensen made the announcement Friday after Jones consulted with team doctor and athletic trainers. She was not cleared to play for Iowa in the 2023-24 season but will remain on scholarship and continue to work toward her degree in sports media and culture.

“I would like to start by saying how grateful I am to have been a part of the Iowa women’s basketball program,” Jones said Friday on social media. “I am extremely blessed to have been a part of the journey last season.

“It is with great sadness to announce that I am medically retiring from college basketball. My coaches, doctors, teammates, and trainers have been amazing since the accident. While I will no longer be a member of the women’s basketball program, I will still be on scholarship, receive a world class education and forever be a Hawkeye.

“I’d like to thank my family for the never-ending support and I am excited for the next chapter of my life.”

The 6-foot-2 Jones was a star at Nickerson (Kan.) High School and ranked No. 83 in ESPN’s HoopGurlz player rankings for the Class of 2023 when she committed to Iowa on July 3, 2022.

Two days later while in Louisville for an AAU basketball tournament, Jones went for a walk with her family when an impaired driver veered onto a sidewalk and hit them. Her father, Trey Jones, was killed while her mother, Amy Jones, suffered a brain injury and 21 broken bones. Her younger brother, Creek Jones, suffered minor injuries.

Amy Jones suffered a traumatic brain injury, torn ligaments in both knees and an injured shoulder. Iowa announced Jones would remain on scholarship.

Jensen, the Iowa associate head coach who recently replaced the retired Lisa Bluder, said in a statement Friday: “We wish Ava the best on the road to recovery and fully support the decision she made to step away from the game. She worked tirelessly to get to this point, but she made the best decision for herself and her well-being.”

The driver, Michael Steele Empson Hurley of Lexington, Ind., was allegedly under the influence of drugs when he hit four members of the Jones family. Hurley was indicted by a grand jury and charged with one count of murder, two counts of first-degree assault, one count of assault in the fourth degree and one count of operating a motor vehicle under the influence.

–Field Level Media

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