LAKE CHARLES – McNeese State senior center NeTanya Jones became the first player, male or female, in school history to be named to the Allstate Good Works Team when she was one of five Division I student-athletes selected to the 2014 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team announced on Tuesday by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and Allstate Insurance Company.
The native of Oakdale will join nine other women's basketball student-athletes – four from Division I and five from Divisions II, III and NAIA – to be recognized during the 2014 WBCA Convention and at the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four in Nashville, and will also participate in a local community project benefitting the city.
In its second year, this preeminent community service honor recognizes college basketball players who have made a commitment to improving their communities and the lives of others.
"Words cannot describe how honored I am for being recognized for selfless work," said Jones who has played in all 21 games this season with 20 starts and is averaging 6.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest. "Helping others has always been a passion of mine from when I was a little girl. I was always taught to give willingly, not grudgingly, and with a great attitude and you will be blessed beyond measure. I can truly say I am blessed beyond measure to be selected to the Allstate Good Works Team and I am so happy and honored to be representing the Southland Conference, McNeese and my hometown of Oakdale.
I hope to leave a legacy for the younger Cowgirls and for those to come to have a passion to giving selflessly to our community. The hours you spend giving back could be the most important, humbling and rewarding hours of a student-athlete's career."
Jones has been a tireless role model in both the Lake Charles and her hometown of Oakdale communities, volunteering her services for many charities and community activities including volunteer work for the Ethel Precht Breast Cancer Walk and American Cancer Society Walk, Toys for Tots drives, Mall-O-Ween, Trunk or Treat, CADA (Communities Against Domestic Abuse), women's and children's shelters, Lake Charles Children's Museum, Special Olympics, and many more.
She currently serves as a mentor for Toys for Tots and has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. She spearheaded the Operation Christmas Child on the McNeese campus and in the Lake Charles and Oakdale communities.
"What an honor," said Cowgirl head coach Brooks Donald Williams. "What an outstanding young lady to be given this honor. She is what Cowgirl Basketball and what being a student-athlete is all about. She represents the McNeese family, Cowgirl Basketball, the Southland Conference, her family, Lake Charles and her hometown of Oakdale with class, integrity, selflessness, passion and positivity."
The Allstate WBCA Good Works Teams are each comprised of 10 student-athletes; five from the NCAA® Division I and five from NCAA Divisions II, III and the NAIA. A total of 84 WBCA nominees were submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their colleges and universities. The final team rosters were chosen by prestigious voting panels comprised of former coaches, student-athletes and media members.
Former Duke University student-athlete, two-time NCAA champion and seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill headlines the Allstate NABC Good Works Team® voting panel. WNBA basketball star Tamika Catchings, who played at the University of Tennessee, serves on the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team® panel.
"Tan (NeTanya) will get to experience something most student-athletes would dream of doing," said Williams of her time at the Women's Final Four. "She has sacrificed and given countless hours to others during her time as a student-athlete. Selflessness, a passion for others and an unbelievable work ethic come with reward and I am so glad she is getting rewarded for it."
"Allstate is proud to join the NABC and WBCA in recognizing college basketball players whose 'good works' align with our commitment to giving back to the communities where we live and work," said Pam Hollander, senior director of marketing for Allstate Insurance Company and a member of the 2014 NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams® selection panels. "These remarkable student-athletes serve as an inspiration to us all and another reason to celebrate those who contribute to the good in life."
While more often than not it's a player's performance on the court that is recognized, the Allstate NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams® shine a light on the positive impact these student-athletes have off the court and in their communities. The 10 young women named to this year's team demonstrate the unique ability to balance academics with athletics while committing themselves to giving back to others. Among the impressive list of accolades this year's teams boast include lobbying state legislature for new laws that could help save lives, donating tuition money to students in third world countries and dedicating countless hours to mentoring underprivileged children.
"This honor is the largest a Cowgirl player has received in my time here and possibly in the history of the program, especially on a national level," said Williams. "Next to being named to an All-American team, this national honor is one of the highest prestige. Our program has prided itself on being involved in the community and the importance of impacting others' lives. We have had players before Tan who paved the way for the community effort in Cowgirl Basketball. As a coach, I am so proud of these girls who have taken ownership in their community work and truly believe it will follow them throughout their lives, helping them become better workers, business people, community workers, wives, mothers and whatever else life throws at them.
In addition to Hollander, Hill and Catchings, the 2014 Allstate NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams selection panel members include: former college basketball players Greg Anthony (UNLV), Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State) and Alana Beard (Duke); former head coaches Bobby Cremins (College of Charleston), Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech), Marsha Sharp (Texas Tech) and Nell Fortner (Auburn); current college basketball coach Coquese Washington (Penn State); and media members Seth Davis (Sports Illustrated/CBS), Dana O'Neil (ESPN), Carolyn Peck (ESPN) and LaChina Robinson (ESPN/FOX).
2014 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team
NCAA Division I
Name Cl. Pos. School Hometown
Kastine Evans Senior Guard Kentucky Salem, Conn.
Alyssa Englert Senior Guard Hartford Dansville, N.Y.
NeTanya Jones Senior Center McNeese State Oakdale, La.
Courtney Moses Senior Guard Purdue Sweetser, Ind.
Shayla Bivins Senior Center Georgia Institute of Technology Jacksonville, Fla.
NCAA Divisions II, III and the NAIA
Name Cl. Pos. School Hometown
Jasmine Brewer Senior Guard Loyola (New Orleans) Houston, Texas
Amy Loya Senior Guard Union (NY) Bethel, Conn.
Michel'le St. Pierre Senior Guard Worcester State Seekonk, Mass.
Alexandra Wilkinson Senior Forward Minnesota State (Mankato) Blue Mounds, Wis.