Shock releases Marion Jones, adds Abi Olajuwon
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Thursday, July 21, 2011
7/21/11 at 6:40 PM
Marion Jones, perhaps the Tulsa Shock’s most recognized player during its two-year history, was released from the team Thursday.
The 35-year-old reserve guard was waived to make room on the 11-player roster for former Oklahoma standout Abi Olajuwon.
Jones appeared in 47 games during the past two seasons, but only averaged 8.6 minutes per contest. Her playing time was limited even more this season, and she was only averaging 0.7 points and 0.4 rebounds a game.
“I want to thank the Tulsa Shock, Coach (Nolan) Richardson, the WNBA and my tremendous teammates for providing me the opportunity to fulfill a dream, and a platform to demonstrate to people, especially our youth, that if you have faith, life is full of second chances,” Jones said in a statement. “I love the game and welcome another opportunity to contribute to women’s professional basketball.”
Jones made news in March 2010 when she signed a free agent contact with the Shock. The former track star was stripped of five medals won during the 2000 Sydney Olympics for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. She also served a six-month prison sentence in 2008 for lying to federal prosecutors.
On the basketball court, the former North Carolina star never made an impact. She didn’t top 14 points in a game, but a late-season surge in 2010 seemed to impress former coach Nolan Richardson. Richardson signed Jones to a multi-year contract last February.
Jones’ roster spot has been taken by Olajuwon, who played at OU from 2006 to 2010. The daughter of former Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon, she averaged 10.6 points and 7.3 rebounds a game in her senior season when the Sooners advanced to the Final Four.
“We need more size and I think that’s what she brings — defense and rebounding ability that we are currently lacking,” Shock interim coach Teresa Edwards said.
Olajuwon was a third-round pick by Chicago in the 2010 WNBA Draft and averaged five minutes a game in six appearances for the Sky that season.
Olajuwon played for the Indiana Fever for one exhibition game this season. She is expected to make her debut Tuesday against the visiting Atlanta Dream, which also features former Sooners star Courtney Paris.
Marion Jones was in her second season with the Shock and was averaging 8.6 minutes a game. KEVIN PYLE/For The Tulsa World