April 20, 2011
The collegiate career of Shakara Jones ended just over a month ago. We've caught up with her to talk about what her time playing for the Tigers meant to her and her future plans.
What will you remember most about playing at Missouri?
"What I will always remember most is the journey it took to get to my senior year. It was a wild journey but at least I made it through and now I have my own story to tell. Now that I have time to reflect on everything I think about the practices, conditioning, weights, good and bad moments and I smile because all of that has helped shape who I am today."
How would you like to be remembered by the fans?
"I would like to be remembered by the fans as someone that never gave up no matter how tough things were and played every game to the final buzzer."
What will you miss the most about playing at MU?
"I will miss getting to play in front of my family, friends, and the fans. I will miss getting to put on that uniform and fight for a university that is so dear to my heart. I will miss getting to be with a team and taking a journey together that we will always remember."
What were your best memories while on the team, both on and off the court?
"On the court my best memories are when we beat teams like Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State and I could be missing a few more. But those games we played with tons of passion and energy throughout the entire game. We never waived on anything and we stuck to together until we got the final result, which was a win! Off the court I am going to miss the times we went out to eat on each others' birthdays and the times we all hung out and talked, laughed, and danced together. Those moments were always special."
You arrived at Missouri as Ron Jones' daughter. Do you think you made a name for yourself here?
There was a huge turnout at this year's banquet. What does that show about the direction of the program?
"I do think I made a name for myself here. I played my way and showed everyone my own personality. It has always been great to be known as my dad's daughter and it never bothers me but I think when people say, `Do you know Ron's Daughter?' people will now say, `Oh yeah, her name is Shak!' At least that is what I am hoping for!"
"I wouldn't say I was necessarily surprised that there were a lot of people this year, I was more excited that so many people came to support us. It meant to me that people are ready and excited to see this program take off in a new direction. I am so grateful that many people took time out of their day to come spend a special moment with us."
You attended the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp. What was that experience like?
"It was an amazing experience. I could not believe that I was trying out for something I had dreamed about since I was a little girl. I felt honored that I had the chance to try-out and be a part of something I have wanted for so long because not a lot of people get the opportunity. There were a lot of elite players there and it just felt great to be amongst that group of people."
Any thoughts about playing professionally? Maybe overseas?
"As of right now I am still trying to figure things out with school and graduating. It would be a wonderful opportunity to play overseas and it is something I am definitely interested in doing."
When will you graduate and what is your major?
"I will graduate December 2011 and my major is Health Sciences."
What are your career plans?
"I haven't quit decided yet. The time for me to decide is coming up very shortly but once I figure out in these short months if I still want to play basketball, possibly overseas, I will probably have a clear answer. I do want to coach or be a physical therapist in the future, so I will just have to wait and see."
What would you like to say to all the team's fans for their support the last four years?
"I would like to say that throughout this whole experience you guys never gave up on us. You showed up every game and cheered as loud as you could no matter the outcome. The games we won on the court, especially at home, you rallied with us and provided us with extra energy to make it to the end. I am so grateful that I got to play in front you all and got to know you all as well. Just keep the Tiger spirit going for the newcomers so they can experience what I got to experience with you all. You guys are the best fans in the world! Thank you for everything! We will forever chant M-I-Z....Z-O-U."