State Athlete of Year: Haley Jones

Haley Jones couldn’t quite get a CIF Open Division state title onto her list of accomplishments, but that didn’t stop her from becoming nation’s No. 1 ranked recruit. Photo: Dennis Lee / SportStars.


Turns out that the recent Archbishop Mitty of San Jose graduate isn’t quite done with high school honors as she’s getting ready for her freshman basketball season at Stanford. She now joins a list of State Girls Athletes of the Year that includes two previous honorees from Mitty and others from women’s hoops such as Cheryl Miller, Lisa Leslie, Candice Wiggins and Jayne Appel on the 100-year all-time list.

For the rundown on the other 2018-19 State Girls Athletes of the Year, CLICK HERE.

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After every award and honor she won this year for her prowess on the basketball court, it seemed like there was nothing left for Haley Jones of Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) to get, and for basketball there wasn’t because she’d already snagged just about each and every one of them both statewide and nationally.

However, now, after a senior year in which many consider her to have been the best high school basketball player not only in California and the nation, but the entire world, Jones has captured the highest honor in the Golden State for a female athlete after being named the 2018-19 Cal-Hi Sports Girls State Athlete of the Year.

Jones follows up the top overall award for California girls athletes from all sports after being named the 2018-19 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year.

With the honor Jones is now the third Girls State Athlete of the Year from Archbishop Mitty to receive the award following Olympic Gold Medalist and pro beach volleyball great Kerri Walsh Jennings, who was honored in 1995-96, and 1998-99 award winner Rometra Craig, who won as a junior.

Jones already has plenty of Team USA international experience and has a chance to be a leader of a US Olympic team someday. Photo: usab.com.


“It’s such an honor to be named to this list of past award winners,” said the Stanford-bound Jones after a long day of the summer program and routine on The Farm. “The past Mitty winners are names that I looked up to when I was younger, and now to be named on the same list is amazing.”

All three Archbishop Mitty winners were coached by Monarchs girls basketball head coach Sue Phillips, the 1999 Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year and herself an award winner this year after recently being honored on the ESPYS and also as the Gatorade Coaching Excellence Award winner.

“Haley is incredibly deserving to be the Cal-Hi Sports Girls State Athlete of the Year,” Phillips remarked. “Such a privilege and honor to coach three Cal-Hi Sports state athletes of the year.”

The difference between Phillips’ first two winners and Jones, is that Haley only played basketball while Walsh Jennings played basketball and volleyball, and excelled in both, and Craig was a standout three-sport athlete after starring in basketball, track and field, and tae kwon do.

“Haley was similar to Kerri and Ro (Rometra) as they are all incredible athletes,” Phillips continued. “But for basketball Haley was the most versatile player during my tenure. She could play all five positions on the court and that’s how she differed most from Kerri and Ro.”

Another amazing fact that makes this award such a feat for Jones is she is only the second winner that played just basketball in high school since the award was tracked back to 1919-20 when legendary tennis star Helen Wills Moody of Berkeley is shown as the winner for the first of four straight years.

Not surprisingly, the first and only other winner to play basketball only in the 100-year history of the Girls State Athlete of the Year honor is the legendary Cheryl Miller of Riverside Poly. She was the 1980-81 recipient after being named Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year as a junior, and then went on to win the Ms. Basketball award again the next year.

Other great basketball players have been named Girls State Athlete of the Year but each excelled in other sports, including 1989-90 winner and current WNBA analyst and former pro star Lisa Leslie. She was the Ms. Basketball in 1988-89 as a junior and again in 1989-90, but Leslie also excelled in track (CIF state meet in the triple jump) at Morningside of Inglewood. Candice Wiggins, whom Jones is following to Stanford, was the 2003-04 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year and followed that up with the Girls State Athlete of the Year, but she was a very good volleyball player on a good team at La Jolla Country Day. Then just two years after Candice, another Stanford player, Concord Carondelet’s Jayne Appel, was the state honoree. Appel also played water polo for the Cougars and was very good.

“To be the first and only other basketball winner since Cheryl Miller, a legend, ranks her with the crème de la crème, the best of the best,” Phillips said.

Jones tried a little long jumping to stay in shape, and although she texted “yep” at the end of the season as to whether she had fun, her jumping other than to rise up and bury a three-pointer had nothing to do with her being honored.

Because club sports has made almost every sport a year round endeavor, only one winner in the past 16 years, including this year, played more than one sport, and that was 2015-16 winner Elena Bruckner of Valley Christian of San Jose, a two-sport athlete in track and field and volleyball. Prior to that, the last multi-sport winner has been Wiggins.

When we did the Ms. Basketball feature on Jones back in early April, her list of awards and achievements was longer than a laundry list. Now, it’s even longer, and as she toils away under a rigorous summer program on The Farm at Stanford, the list is finally complete with the state’s highest honor for a girls athlete.

Besides the Cal-Hi Sports Girls State Athlete of the Year award here are the national honors that have been earned by Haley, and it’s mighty impressive:

– WABC National Player of the Year
– Naismith National Player of the Year
– Morgan Wooten National Player of the Year
– World Champion – Gold Medal winner with USA Basketball U17 team
– One of five players named to the All World Team
– 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 U18 National Championships as the only invitee from California
– ESPNW No. 1 recruit in the nation in the Class of 2019

Getting back to multi-sport athletes, one has to wonder if Jones might not have excelled in other sports had basketball not consumed her life.

Jones is shown here playing in a CIF NorCal Open Division contest as a sophomore. Photo: Willie Eashman.

“Haley would have excelled in any sport if she had dedicated her time and energy in a different direction,” Phillips pondered. “Restating the obvious, an incredible athlete coupled with being a quick learner, someone that loves to compete, and extremely coachable, and that’s a recipe for success with her athleticism and IQ for sports.”

“I learned my summer going into my freshman year that basketball was my passion,” was Jones response. “Before then I played soccer, volleyball and ran track. I still ran some track but from that point on I focused on basketball and never looked back.”

Basketball certainly consumed Haley and she consumed Mitty school records and Monarchs opponents.

The only thing she didn’t do was win a CIF state championship but that can’t all be on her shoulders after what she accomplished. In her four years at Mitty the Monarchs only lost 11 games, and that included going to the Nike TOC four times to meet the nation’s top teams, plus they played in other top tournaments in her four years, including Jones leading Mitty to a West Coast Jamboree Platinum Division title two seasons ago immediately after she led the Monarchs to the title of the top division of the TOC.

Jones leaves Mitty as the all-time leading scorer, surpassing Walsh Jennings, Craig, and WNBA All-Star Danielle Robinson. Her 2,126 points is 248 points ahead of No. 2 Walsh Jennings. Her .638 career field goal percentage in No. 1 in school history, plus Haley also went over 1,000 rebounds in her career and her 1,046 is fourth in Mitty history.

This past season Phillips turned her loose in some games and rested her in a lot of blowout wins just like she has all four years Jones has been a Monarch, but Haley still averaged 26.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.7 steals and 2.8 blocks per game. She had 23 double-doubles in a 25-3 season and her high water mark for points was 43 against WCAL rival Mountain View St. Francis and her best game on the boards was 22 rebounds versus Christian Brothers of Sacramento.

Besides being a formidable student-athlete Jones was exemplary in the Mitty community and her local community as well.

Jones tutored kids at Holy Cross elementary school and volunteered as a coach for Phillips’ San Jose Cagers third through sixth-grade teams. The Honor Roll and model student was perfect for the job of Ambassador at Mitty. She conducted incoming freshmen tours where kids shadowed her during the day, and she also did campus tours during open houses for adults as well.

Gatorade gives its winners grant money and the past two years when she has been their California Player of the Year Jones has donated all the money to the Boys and Girls Clubs, specifically the Santa Cruz chapter in her home town.

Jones began playing organized basketball in the third-grade but she’s been around basketball before then since her parents, Patrick and Monique Jones, both played basketball in college, and were the co head coaches of the Santa Cruz girls team when she was even younger.

Now, over a decade later, she’s has gone from being a gym rat to the most outstanding high school girls athlete in the state for the past school year.

ALL-TIME CAL-HI SPORTS
STATE GIRLS ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)

Gracie Figueroa (on the right) and Selma High teammate Alleida Martinez both won four CIF state wrestling titles and led the Bears to three straight CIF team title. Photo: Bryant-Jon Anteola / The Fresno Bee.


2018-19 – Haley Jones, San Jose Archbishop Mitty (basketball)
2017-18 – Gracie Figueroa, Selma (wrestling)
2016-17 – Tara Davis, Agoura Hills Agoura (track)
2015-16 – Elena Bruckner, San Jose Valley Christian (track, volleyball)
2014-15 – Abbey Weitzeil, Saugus (swimming)
2013-14 – Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo Aliso Niguel (gymnastics)
2012-13 – Chelsea Chenault, Concord Carondelet (swimming)
2011-12 – Kyla Ross, Aliso Viejo Aliso Niguel (gymnastics)
2010-11 – Maggie Steffens, Danville Monte Vista (water polo)
2009-10 – Ashton Purvis, Oakland St. Elizabeth (track)
2008-09 – Jordan Hasay, San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (track)
2007-08 – Jordan Hasay, San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (track) Jr.
2006-07 – Alix Klineman, Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (volleyball)
2005-06 – Jayne Appel, Concord Carondelet (water polo, basketball)
2004-05 – Jessica Hardy, Long Beach Wilson (swimming)
2003-04 – Candice Wiggins, La Jolla Country Day (volleyball, basketball)
2002-03 – Alyson Felix, North Hills L.A. Baptist (track)
2001-02 – Julia Pitts, Torrance North (volleyball, basketball, track)
2000-01 – Lashinda Demus, Long Beach Wilson (track)
1999-00 – Monique Henderson, San Diego Morse (track) Jr.
1998-99 – Rometra Craig, San Jose Mitty (basketball, tae kwon do, track) Jr.
1997-98 – Amanda Freed, Garden Grove Pacifica (volleyball, soccer, baseball)
1996-97 – Tayyiba Haneef, Laguna Hills (volleyball, basketball, track)
1995-96 – Kerri Walsh, San Jose Mitty (volleyball, basketball)
1994-95 – Marcy Crouch, Huntington Beach Marina (soccer, softball)
1993-94 – Suzy Powell, Modesto Downey (basketball, track)
1992-93 – Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks (basketball, track)
1991-92 – Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks (basketball, track) Jr.
1990-91 – Marion Jones, Oxnard Rio Mesa (basketball, track) Soph.
1989-90 – Lisa Leslie, Inglewood Morningside (basketball, track)
1988-89 – Janet Evans, Placentia El Dorado (swimming)
1987-88 – Janet Evans, Placentia El Dorado (swimming) Jr.
1986-87 – Michele Granger, Placentia Valencia (softball)
1985-86 – Terri Mann, San Diego Point Loma (basketball, track)
1984-85 – Elaina Oden, Irvine (volleyball, track)
1983-84 – Wendy Brown, Woodside (basketball, track)
1982-83 – Wendy Wyland, Mission Viejo (diving)
1981-82 – Denean Howard, Granada Hills Kennedy (track)
1980-81 – Cheryl Miller, Riverside Polytechnic (basketball)
1979-80 – Sherri Howard, Granada Hills Kennedy (track)
1978-79 – Cynthia Woodhead, Riverside Polytechnic (swimming)
1977-78 – Tracy Austin, Rolling Hills (tennis)
1976-77 – Linda Fratianne, Van Nuys Valley Professional (figure skating)
1975-76 – Jill Sterkel, Hacienda Heights Wilson (swimming)
1974-75 – Barbara Reinalda, Cerritos Valley Christian (basketball, softball)
1973-74 – Mary Decker, Orange (track)
1972-73 – Keena Rothhammer, Santa Clara (swimming)
1971-72 – Mable Fergerson, Pomona Ganesha (track)
1970-71 – Laura Baugh, Long Beach Wilson (golf)
1969-70 – Cathy Rigby, Los Alamitos (gymnastics)
1968-69 – Debbie Meyer, Sacramento Rio Americano (swimming)
1967-68 – Debbie Meyer, Sacramento Rio Americano (swimming)
1966-67 – Debbie Meyer, Sacramento Rio Americano (swimming)
1965-66 – Charlotte Cooke, Compton (track)
1964-65 – Peggy Fleming, Pasadena (figure skating)
1963-64 – Sharon Stouder, Glendora (swimming)
1962-63 – Donna de Varona, Santa Clara (swimming)
1961-62 – Carolyn House, Los Angeles Marshall (swimming)
1960-61 – Billie Jean King, Long Beach Poly (tennis)*
1959-60 – Chris von Saltza, Los Gatos (swimming)
1958-59 – Karen Hantze, San Diego Mission Bay (tennis)
1957-58 – Sylvia Ruuska, Berkeley (swimming)
1956-57 – Barbara Ann Roles, Arcadia (figure skating)
1955-56 – Mimi Arnold, Redwood City Sequoia (tennis)
1954-55 – Mimi Arnold, Redwood City Sequoia (tennis)
1953-54 – Carol Tait, Atherton Menlo-Atherton (swimming)
1952-53 – Barbara Stark, Lafayette Acalanes (swimming)
1951-52 – Paula Jean Myers, Covina (diving)
1950-51 – Maureen Connolly, San Diego Cathedral (tennis)
1949-50 – Maureen Connolly, San Diego Cathedral (tennis)
1948-49 – Marlene Bauer, L.A. unknown (golf)
1947-48 – Zoe Ann Olsen, Oakland (diving)
1946-47 – Zoe Ann Olsen, Oakland (diving)
1945-46 – Zoe Ann Olsen, Oakland (diving)
1944-45 – Nancy Chaffee, Ventura (tennis)
1943-44 – Jean Doyle, San Diego Point Loma (tennis)
1942-43 – Ann Curtis, S.F. Washington (swimming)
1941-42 – Ann Curtis, S.F. Washington (swimming)
1940-41 – Ann Curtis, S.F. Washington (swimming)
1939-40 – Margorie Gestring, Los Angeles (diving)
1938-39 – Esther Williams, L.A. Washington (swimming)
1937-38 – Margorie Gestring, Los Angeles (diving)
1936-37 – Margorie Gestring, Los Angeles (diving)
1935-36 – Peggy Graham, Beverly Hills (golf)
1934-35 – Margaret Osborne, S.F. Commerce (tennis)
1933-34 – Florence Chadwick, San Diego Hoover (rough water swimming)
1932-33 – Dorothy Poynton, L.A. Fairfax (diving)
1931-32 – Evelyn Furtsch, Tustin (track)
1930-31 – Alice Marble, S.F. Polytechnic (tennis)
1929-30 – Georgia Coleman, L.A. Polytechnic (diving)
1928-29 – Gloria Russell, Berkeley (track)
1927-28 – Georgia Coleman, L.A. Polytechnic (diving)
1926-27 – Georgia Coleman, L.A. Polytechnic (diving)
1925-26 – Helen Jacobs, Berkeley Miss Anna Head’s School (tennis)
1924-25 – Eleanor Garatti, San Rafael (swimming)
1923-24 – Helen Jacobs, Berkeley (tennis)
1922-23 – Helen Wills, Berkeley Miss Anna Head’s School (tennis)
1921-22 – Helen Wills, Berkeley unknown (tennis)
1920-21 – Helen Wills, Berkeley unknown (tennis)
1919-20 – Helen Wills, Berkeley unknown (tennis)
*Known as Billie Jean Moffitt while in high school.

Note: All selections prior to 1978-79 done retroactively through research by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at marketingharoldabend@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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