When Alexis Jones began her collegiate career, playing professionally in her hometown wasn’t even an option.
But not because she wasn’t good.
Jones finished her career as a two-time All-American while averaging double figures during her two years in Waco and put up the lone points-rebounds-assists triple double in Baylor women’s basketball history.
Dallas just didn’t have a team.
Until now — as the Wings are set to start their second season in Dallas.
“I’m glad there’s a team in Dallas,” Jones said. “It shows we have a really good fan base in Dallas that loves the game of basketball and women’s sports in general. But yeah, if I did get picked, it would give my dad the opportunity, my mom, just right here at home, so I just feel right at home. I wouldn’t have a problem.”
Dallas has three picks in the first round of Thursday’s draft – third, fourth and 10th.
While Dallas does need to get a big who can defend down low and up the scoring inside – Dallas was the worst team in the WNBA in percentage of points scored on two-point shots – the Wings also need to replace former Baylor star Odyssey Sims, who was traded to Los Angeles.
Sims was the backcourt mate for Skylar Diggins, able to play either the point or shooting guard position with the ability to attack or pull up and drain the 3-pointer.
Jones played both the one and the two for Baylor and finished her time at Baylor second in career 3-point percentage.
“Some of the things that intrigued me about her is she’s cool under pressure,” Dallas coach Fred Williams said. “She’s really a pressure shooter, deep outside while shooting the basketball. She’s a guard that’s always gotten better and better each year. … She’s pro ready, and I think she will give a tremendous challenge to anybody’s roster on the floor because of her shooting range, her ability to play the one and the two and also her ability to put on a lot of pressure and to push the basketball.”
ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo believes Jones will be the first Baylor player to be drafted Thursday evening.
Bu the other two Lady Bears aren’t far behind.
In multiple mock drafts, Alexis Prince and Nina Davis are right there in the mix with Jones.
Prince, at 6-foot-2, has great size out on the perimeter and is a good defender as well as a scorer.
But the most intriguing Lady Bear for Lobo is Davis.
While the debate is there as to whether Davis would make the adjustment from power forward to small forward – she only took 11 3-point attempts during her Baylor career and made three of them – one thing is for sure.
Don’t doubt her, Lobo said.
“She had so much success in college and has kind of shut up the naysayers throughout her entire career,” Lobo said. “I mean, she’s undersized as a power forward but somehow still finds a way to score inside and rebound. She has a great motor. She runs the floor as well as anybody. ... But the question is, okay, what position is she, where does she fit, which team can really use and take advantage of the unique things that she provides. ”
For these Lady Bears, getting drafted is the first step.
Making a roster and earning some playing time comes next.
Of the 36 players who were drafted a year ago, 16 of them didn’t make a roster.
Of the 20 who made a team, 12 of them averaged at least 10 minutes per game.
“I think the game is obviously bigger, stronger, faster, more athletic than we’ve ever seen it,” ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson said. “I think it’s harder to come in and really have an impact right away for those reasons. But I think we have some very talented pieces that can come in and get a team over the hump that’s looking to get into the playoffs or increase the quality of depth of a team that’s already amongst the best in the league.”