Jones, Miller earn three WNBA awards for Connecticut
President Lisa Borders was on-hand at Mohegan Sun Arena to present three WNBA awards prior to the splayoff game between the Sun and the Phoenix Mercury. Connecticut forward Jonquel Jones and head coach and general manager Curt Miller earn Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year and the inaugural Basketball Executive of the Year awards, respectively.
Prior to presenting Jones and Miller, Borders took a moment to send regards to those being affected by Hurricane Irma in the south east, “our hearts go out, our prayers go out to all those who are affected,” stated Borders.
Most Improved Player
From there, Jones was presented her award for Most Improved Player. She became the third Sun player to receive the awards since it was first presented in 2000 (Wendy Palmer, 2004 and Kelsey Bone, 2015). Jones posted a 6.8 scoring average in her first season in the league to 15.4 ppg this season. The first-time All-Star also posted a league-tying 20 double-doubles.
“The good thing about most improved is it factors in two years,” said Jones. “Last year, obviously as rookies, we all didn’t get to do what we wanted to do in terms of playing … coming into our second year, all of us have improved so much,” stated Jones.
In the front row her teammates, including fellow second-year players Rachel Banham and Morgan Tuck sat to celebrate her award.
Coach of the Year and Basketball Executive of the Year
Curt Miller received two awards for his work as head coach and general manager of the Connecticut Sun. After another year with a losing record, Miller propelled his young team to second overall in scoring and rebounding. Miller received 36 of 40 votes for Coach of the Year and becomes the second Sun skipper (Mike Thibault, 2006 & ,2008) to win the award.
Miller also earned the inaugural Basketball Executive of the Year award voted on by all 12 teams in the league. He received half of the first place votes for the award. Miller was humbled, but made sure to give props to Connecticut Sun vice president Amber Cox.
“It was a surprise,” said Miller of his WNBA awards, “I truly don’t even think I’m the best executive in the building.” Miller praised Cox’s work with social media and ticket sales that helped make the team and the Sun players more visible this season.
Miller also thanked his coaching staff and the players for buying into what he called a championship mentality, “it’s been a remarkable year that we hope is not done yet, thank you.”
More WNBA awards will be announced prior to the second playoff at Madison Square Garden where the New York Liberty host the Washington Mystics.