After starting as a freshman, Sylvia “Bugg” Jones saw her playing time decrease during her sophomore season.
But as a junior, Jones found her groove and remained a big part of Brighton’s success during her final two seasons.
College coaches noticed.
LaTaryl Williams, the head coach at East Central Community College, texted her last February when she was in art class. Her teacher allowed her to step out of class and call him.
That led to a visit to the campus in Decatur, Miss. She met players and administrators and was offered a full scholarship. Despite some interest from other schools, she committed to ECCC at the end of March and made it official with a signing ceremony last Saturday at her Brighton home.
COVID-19 restrictions prevented her from visiting any other schools.
“I still stayed in contact with those schools, but I just didn’t feel comfortable making a decision not getting to visit or seeing the school and going on just what I’d heard,” Jones said.
A 5-4 point guard, Jones averaged 15.7 points per game as a junior and 13.8 last season to finish her career with more than 1,300 points, which is believed to be the most in program history. She also averaged 5.6 assists during those two seasons.
“She’s an athletic point guard who has a lot of upside,” said Brighton head coach Stan Gatlin. “I think she can be molded into the type of player they want. She has the potential to develop her shot more. They see a player who can really impact their program and develop.”
Most signings are held at school, but because of social-distancing policies Jones had to do things differently. A handful of family members and coaches congregated at her house, watched her sign and ate a cake that looked like a basketball court.
“It turned out better than I thought,” Jones said. “I had some people there to support me. It was great.”
Jones admitted her dreams of playing in college seemed to be just that for a while during her sophomore season.
“I always thought I could play at the next level some kind of way, but I used to get discouraged a lot, believe it or not,” Jones said. “I have a good way of hiding it … but everything worked out.”