Troy’s own Tuti Jones returning home to face Trojans

Published 2:12 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

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Troy native Tuti Jones will be joining her teammates on the Belmont Bruins women’s basketball team as they face off against the Troy Trojans at Trojan Arena this Wednesday night.

Jones was an All-State player at Charles Henderson High School, where she helped guide CHHS to two state championships during her career. She went on to play college basketball at Belmont and earned All-OVC honors in 2021-2022 and was also the Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

After a stellar sophomore campaign, Jones went into 2022-2023 considered one of the top players in her conference and prepared to face off against her hometown college, Troy University, for the first time before a season-ending injury sidelined her early in the season.

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“It was super disappointing not being able to play against (Troy),” Jones said. “I was just glad that it was them coming to us and not a game back at home.”

Jones went through a grueling rehab to return to the court for her redshirt junior campaign. She also felt that seeing things from the sideline benefited her in the long run.

“The season is going pretty good,” Jones said. “Rehab was a little long but it gave me a different perspective in seeing things and I feel good now. I’m 100 percent.”

Jones has certainly played like she’s 100 percent. In the first six games this season, she’s averaging 11.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, a career-high 5.3 assists and 1.8 steals. In back-to-back games in November, Jones scored 18 points against both Mississippi State and Stanford. Against Northwestern, she dished a career-high 10 assists and also earned four steals.

“Taking a year off I learned some more things, some new things, and I think I was able to learn a lot from watching the game instead of being in it,” she said. “I’m just trying to help out my team and if that means scoring, I’ll do it, and if it means passing, I’ll do it.”

Now, Jones is returning home to Troy to play basketball for the first time since her high school days.

“I’m pretty excited,” Jones emphasized. “I’m glad all my home town people and my family will be able to come watch me again. (Troy) is a good team and they’re well coached, so I’m super pumped for this game.

“It will be fun. (Chanda Rigby) is a great coach and I know she’ll have her team really prepared for this.”

One person that will be in attendance is her high school coach – and mother – Dyneshia Jones, who has had the chance to see her play more since retiring last season.

“She means so much to me,” Jones said of her mother. “She sacrificed so much, so I could live my dream. Since she’s retired she’s been to a lot more of my games that she ever has been and I’m super excited for that and I know she’s enjoying it.”

Troy will host Belmont at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, in a game that will also stream on ESPN+.