(TORRANCE, Calif.) — NEWS: On May 25, 2022, Haley Jones, one of the most distinguished We Are G.A.M.E. (Getting Athletes Mentoring and Education) alumna, graduates from the U.S. Air Force Academy (AFA), concluding her storied collegiate basketball career.
Jones’s dreams of playing college basketball fell into place when she (along with her sister, Dakota) met Allen and Joyce Thigpen, the founders of We Are G.A.M.E. The Jones sisters were raised by an amazing single mother. Dakota is also graduating this May, having completed her master’s degree in public health from New York University.
When she met the Thigpens, Jones was in 8th grade and the nonprofit was getting off the ground. Allen Thigpen offered to come alongside the sisters as prospective college student-athletes. That connected Jones with other students who had dreams of not just playing basketball in college, but also playing at the highest division-level possible. At the same time, the Thigpens offered access to the academic resources necessary to bring that dream to life.
Throughout high school, Jones played for the West High School Warriors in Torrance, California. During her four-year career there, she led the team to a California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIF-SS) Division I title, was honored as Player of the Year for the Division, and earned the girls’ basketball Player of the Year title from The Daily Breeze, a local publication.
Upon graduating high school, Jones enrolled at the Air Force Academy. Donning her jersey with the AFA Falcons was the realization of her dream of playing Division 1 (D1) basketball, something she and We Are G.A.M.E. worked toward throughout her high school education.
Fast forward to Jones’s senior year, which news publications called a “dream season” for the Falcons. It started with an opener against the University of Denver. Although they trailed by 13 points at the half, the Falcons bounced back to win 79-62, thanks in part to Jones’s four steals and six points.
The Falcons went on to secure a total of 19 wins overall – including 11 in the Conference – during the season, the most in school history since the team went D1 in the mid-90s. They were also invited to their first postseason tournament (the Women’s National Invitational Tournament) and secured their first postseason win.
During the second round, the Falcons faced off against UCLA. Jones was the Falcons’ leading scorer with 10 points and leading rebounder with 12 rebounds, marking her fifth double-double of the season. Unfortunately, the Falcons would fall to the Bruins, ending Jones’s career with the AFA.
She can look back with pride, though, knowing she collected 614 rebounds during her time as a Falcon, the fifth-most of any player in the D1 era. 276 of those came during her senior year, the second-most of any player in a single season.
After graduating, Jones will begin her first duty assignment in Oklahoma. She then plans to tackle the challenge of becoming an Air Force pilot, a notable undertaking as only 7% of Air Force pilots are currently women.
About We Are G.A.M.E.:
We are G.A.M.E., Inc. is made up of a T.E.A.M. (Those Empowering Athletes by Mentoring) of community members strongly committed to empowering student-athletes with the tools and skills needed to successfully tackle the world of college athletics. The T.E.A.M. serves a population of students in need of support, advice, and, most of all, life guidance.
By identifying student-athletes in the ninth grade or earlier, the nonprofit aims to positively influence their lives. The mentors at We Are G.A.M.E. want to see young athletes develop to their fullest athletic potential but ensure that the students also focus on education. The mentors work with students and their parents to create a game plan to pursue academic excellence as well as athletic success.
Learn more at https://www.wearegame.org/
Related link: https://www.wearegame.org/
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