By Steve Stone, Assistant Sports Information Director
When you watch rising junior guard Morgan Jones play, you can see her potential is limitless. Her long, lean body allows her to get anywhere when she drives, and her great wingspan and athletic side-to-side motion means she can lock down plenty of opponents.
As it turns out, you can’t put limitations on the things she can do away from the court either. After a star-studded basketball career where she averaged 29.5 points as a senior at Our Lady of Mercy High, Jones was a sought-after recruit. When she decided to attend Florida State, it wasn’t just to be a basketball player.
Jones wanted to be more than an athlete.
“I’m also a normal kid, a normal teenager wanting that college experience transitioning from high school,” Jones said. “I know basketball occupies most of our time, but people say college can be the best four years of your life. I don’t want to just limit that to basketball. I want to be involved in more.”
Those who know her well know the type of personality she has. Jones could talk to a fly on the wall. She is very connecting in her nature and does not try to shelter herself only to her sport. She knows the demands after two years of student-athlete life, but wants to fill the small time she has outside of basketball with things that other students get to do.
“Just seeing how it is on the outside of the athletic world. Going to different events and seeing how life is for non-athletes, how they act around campus and the things they do around campus and in the community,” Jones said. “It’s a lot of stuff that athletes might not see because they feel so boxed in. They may not see how incredible other students are on campus.”
Growing up, Jones was positively influenced by the strong women around her. One of the common bonds many of those women shared was being part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. After getting through her first season with Florida State where she noticeably improved from start to finish, she came into her sophomore season seeking more.
So in the Fall 2019, she pledged with AKA while also getting ready for another intense pre-season camp with the Seminoles. With the support of her teammates and coaches, she went through the juggling act which pulled away nearly all of her time.
“My mother is an AKA, and the ladies that I grew up around that were her friends were also AKAs,” Jones said. “I like the way they carried themselves. That really influenced me to become one as well.
“They thought it was pretty cool that I crossed into a sorority,” Jones said of her teammates. “A lot of athletes aren’t in sororities or fraternities.”
Jones ventures out. She dedicates herself to the rigors of every basketball season, but refuses to be confined to the court. In her first two years at FSU she has gone to several homecomings both at Florida State and Florida A&M, and has participated in many hours of community service along with her teammates.
Perhaps her humble beginnings come from her family roots in Jonesboro, Ga. Jones attended our Lady of Mercy High School – a small private school. She grew up with constant support from her family, and the love they’ve shown her has paid dividends in the person she has become.
“My family has always been supportive of me. They’ve always come to my games, whether it was volleyball, soccer,” Jones added. “They came to literally everything. I’m very family-oriented. I came from private school all my life. I never went to public school until I got to college – that’s another part of my life that was different. Me coming to college from a small school was a transition for me, but that’s another reason why I was ready to come to college. I wanted more experiences. I knew it would be different from a small private school.”
Head Coach Sue Semrau has certainly uplifted Jones, as well as coaches Brooke Wyckoff, Joy McCorvey and JC Carter. She has admired their collectiveness as a coaching staff, starting with FSU’s fearless leader through each of the last 23 years.
“Coach Sue is always about person first, player second,” Jones said. “I know she wants us to get the most out of our college experience besides basketball. She’s very supportive of a lot of the things we want to do.”
It hasn’t been a secret how difficult 2020 has been. FSU missed out on the NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19, leaving a lot of “what ifs” for a team that had built momentum with a strong run in the ACC Tournament.
Most recently, civil unrest has engulfed the country and has reached much of the world. These are issues that Coach Sue does not shy away from with her players. She knows the issues that have plagued the country for far too long weigh heavily on her team, and she wants to have real and open dialogue about it.
“It’s good to know she has our back. She truly understands what’s going on and how it’s affecting us,” Jones added. “With her, our feelings are always valid. She’s a great person to sympathize with. She may not have experienced some of these things first-hand like some of us, but she always tries to understand you and she genuinely wants change as well.”
“It’s good to know she has our back. She truly understands what’s going on and how it’s affecting us.”Morgan Jones on Coach Sue having an open dialogue with her players
The nation coming at a cross-roads has personally affected Jones. The entire team has been active on social media, and the women’s basketball community has made their presence felt nationwide. Jones has been to multiple peaceful protests in Jonesboro.
“Sadly, it’s not surprising,” Jones said of the civil unrest that has reached a fever pitch over the last month. “We know these types of things have been going on for a while. We’re numb to it, but it’s hurtful because it can happen to anybody at any day. You never know the last time you’ll see someone. We just hope for the best and pray for each other. You tell people to be safe all the time, because you never know what could happen.”
Playing in front of several fans each and every time, and being active in the community has allowed Jones and her teammates to each build a strong following. With that comes an opportunity to let people know her thoughts.
“I’m blessed to use my platform to speak on these issues,” Jones said. “We have a lot of fans that follow us at Florida State, so I think it’s good for us to speak on it because it spreads awareness for people that follow us. It’s a blessing for us – the little things we can do to help spread awareness and make changes in the world is pretty amazing.”
Despite her marked improvement as a sophomore at FSU, where she raised nearly all her averages and became a fixture in the starting five, Jones knows she wants to be more. She has her sights set on playing professionally in a few years and getting her degree. She also wants to be someone who impacts young girls around the world, serving as the ultimate example of a person who balanced their time in college to squeeze out every last experience that it has to offer.
She still has so much more to accomplish. But after her first two years of maximizing every opportunity, Jones is bound to leave Florida State having fulfilled the true college experience.
"It’s a blessing for us – the little things we can do to help spread awareness and make changes in the world is pretty amazing.”Morgan Jones