NCAAW: Iowa’s Ava Jones remains resilient, determined and remarkable

17-year-old Ava Jones is a profile when it comes to courage. The high school basketball star and Iowa recruit from Nickerson, Kansas, is in an intense recovery process after suffering unspeakable tragedy in July. While traveling to Louisville, Kentucky for a basketball tournament, Ava, her parents, and younger brother were walking down the sidewalk when a car jumped the curb and hit them. It later emerged that the driver was prevented from taking hydrocodone before getting behind the wheel.

Ava’s father, Trey, was killed, her mother, Amy, was seriously injured, and her brother, Creek, suffered minor injuries. Ava suffered a traumatic brain injury, torn ligaments in both knees and a shoulder injury. Both she and her mother spent months recovering at the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute in Louisville before returning to Nickerson in late August.

After several surgeries, Ava was able to walk and speak again. She has recovered better than most expected. She still needs surgery on her knees and shoulder. Many had expected her basketball career to be over. But through it all, Ava was determined to find her way back onto the pitch.

On National Signing Day, November 9, Ava signed a memorandum of understanding with Iowa. Surrounded by her mother, brother, friends and other supporters, she made her statement official, proving once again that her inspirational journey continues. Before the tragedy, Ava was ranked 84th ESPN Hoop Gurlz for the Class of 2023. She originally signed for Arizona State, but Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne’s retirement prompted her to explore other options. Two days before the accident, she enlisted in Iowa.

The Hawkeyes did everything they could to support Ava and her family. Head Coach Lisa Bluder makes it a point to keep in touch with them regularly and make it clear that Ava’s future in Iowa City continues to be bright.

“The Jones family continues to inspire with their incredible steadfastness and determination,” she said. “Both Ava and her mother, Amy, are continuing various therapy sessions and both will undergo additional surgeries as they continue their journey of healing. We’ve obviously gotten so close to her entire family over the past few months. We are proud and grateful that Ava is a Hawkeye and her family is grateful for our support as well.”

Bluder also spoke about how she and the team will work to ensure Ava is welcome and protected when she arrives in Iowa.

“We will support you in all operations and in your further therapy sessions. Our approach will be to support all doctors and therapists working with her. As they improve and restrictions are lifted, we will then begin appropriate training and reintroduction to basketball skill work.

On Thursday night, the No. 4 Hawkeyes take on Kansas State in Manhattan, which is about two hours from Nickerson. Ava and her family plan to be present.

After signing her letter of intent, Ava said, “I feel like my dad was with me today.” Ava is as resilient as it gets, and with the strong memory of her dad and the unconditional support of her loved ones, she must Don’t deal with whatever comes your way alone.