Several established athletes were out in full force this week for the Gatorade Athlete of the Year Award Show, including Stanford basketball star Haley Jones.
Jones has been nearly unstoppable since joining Stanford’s program in 2019, winning an NCAA title and the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award.
We caught up with Haley Jones to discuss her work with Gatorade, outlook for the 2022-23 season, who she’d want to face one-on-one and more.
The Spun: Gatorade’s Athlete of the Year Program is the most prestigious high school award in the country - what does it mean for you to be able to support the next generation of athletes?
Haley Jones: It means a lot being able to be here and be on the other side of things. I was a State Player or the Year myself, so being able to be one of those athletes who they hopefully look up to is really special.
The Spun: A big component of Gatorade is helping out the community. In your opinion, how important is that?
HJ: I think everything Gatorade stands for with these awards and as a company in general is that you’re looking at the holistic view of a person. Everyone at this award show is well-rounded in their own way. I think being a part of this event here and seeing everyone is very special. It’s cool to learn from everyone and see their different interests.
The Spun: National champion, Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Pac-12 Co-Player of the Year. Those are just some of your achievements. What’s left on the bucket list?
HJ: I think there’s a lot left. I think with all the things I’ve done in the past it’s just motivation for the future. Going into my senior year, I want to win another national championship, I want to be Pac-12 Player of the Year again, I want to be the MOP of the Final Four again. Those are goals I have every year. I want to go undefeated in the preseason, undefeated in the regular season. There’s a lot left out there.
The Spun: How do you prepare for the 2022-23 season without thinking about the WNBA and your future in the pros?
HJ: I think it’s still a balancing act that I’m working on. I don’t know if anyone really has it figured out perfectly. The WNBA is something I’ve wanted to be a part of growing up. I played with Rhyne Howard and Naz Hillmon on the USA Team. So this dream is so close, but I want to make sure I spend my last year at Stanford in a way that I love.
The Spun: Stanford and South Carolina will square off in November. How excited are you for that matchup?
HJ: I’m really excited. We’ve kinda created a cross-country rivalry over the years. We’re excited to finally host them in Maples. We’re ready - tensions will be high for that one.
The Spun: You’ve been very vocal about mental health. With that said, how has it been figuring out that balance between your time on the court and your life away from it?
HJ: I think it has gotten more difficult and easy at the same time. I feel like I’ve gotten better at time management, but there are more responsibilities on my plate. I’m still working on that balancing act. I think it’s a mix of figuring out what you need to prioritize and what sacrifices you’re OK with making.
The Spun: If you could play one-on-one with any basketball player ever, who would you choose and why?
HJ: Oh my, that’s a first. I would choose my cousin, DeLisha Milton-Jones. I want to play her in her prime. First of all, it’s a family rivalry. I would be able to hold that win over her head, which is the plan. But I think she’s such an amazing player and she somewhat goes under the radar. She played the game with such passion and she has inspired me.
In three seasons of college basketball, Jones is averaging 12.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
Jones is hopeful that she can end her career at Stanford with another national title.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.