GB Basketball Player & Marketing Executive: Global Data Plc
Georgia Jones studied at Loughborough University for a Masters Degree in Sports Management between 2013 and 2015. Georgia plays basketball for Great Britain as well as being a Marketing Executive for Global Data Plc. Here Georgia talks about her time as a student, utilising her time effectively and her national basketball career!
My masters was something that I had considered doing after I finished my undergraduate degree so when Matthew Harber contacted me about coming to play basketball for the Leicester Riders and Loughborough University team I looked into the different courses available. My goal is to have a career in sport and I have a passion for business so the Sport Management postgraduate course really appealed to me. I also loved the campus and I felt I would really benefit from the great facilities and coaching available.
The first thing I noticed at Loughborough was the amount of elite athletes on campus! Everywhere you turn you see people pushing themselves to be better at what they do. It really is an uplifting and motivating place to be. Everyone is so focused and determined to achieve success, I really have never experienced another place like it.
I chose to do my Masters degree over two years which helped me tremendously. I also had experience of being a student athlete at Division 1 NCAA level whilst playing for Oral Robert University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I carried those experiences and time management skills forward with me during my time at Loughborough.
I feel very honoured and grateful for every opportunity I get to play for my country. I think every serious athlete dreams of competing on the biggest stage possible and it really does not get better than competing internationally. Putting on a GB vest and representing the country is one of the best feelings in the world for me.
I have been playing basketball for as long as I can remember. I come from a basketball family, my dad played and now coaches and my two other brothers both play, so it was inevitable I would follow in their footsteps. With that being said, I started playing much earlier than most British basketball players which was a big advantage for me. Growing up I achieved success quite early in my career, representing England age group teams at 11 years old then the Senior Women’s GB team at 16.
At 18, I attended Oral Roberts University on a full scholarship to play Division 1 basketball and get my degree. During my time there I received the Newcomer of the Year Award for my conference and our team won the Summit League Conference 2 years in a row.
After University I played professionally for Barking Abbey in London and Cluj-Napoca in Romania before moving to Loughborough. For Leicester Riders, we won the Division 1 England Basketball League in my first year playing for the club and the following year the BUCS Premier Championship for Loughborough University.
Really well!! I really wanted to get back to Manchester and play for the team I started my career with. When I heard about the team moving to the new National Basketball Performance Centre at Belle Vue to play its home games and all of the opportunities that are expected in the future, I felt like now was the time to move home! We have had a really strong start to the season and are currently top of the WBBL Table. We have a lot of talented players this year and it seems to all be coming together for us as a team. Considering the Mystics were bottom of the table last year, it shows how much of a positive change the club has made and we are definitely surprising some people this year.
How did the complete withdrawal of funding to UK Basketball in 2013 after the Olympics impact your career?
The withdrawal of funding was a huge blow for British basketball! I would say it has impacted the national teams the most. The staff and players have remained committed to building basketball in the country but quality preparation, kit and equipment and the time we physically have together as a team has suffered. We have also had issues with insurance since the funding cut, meaning those with professional contracts were taking a big risk competing for GB, and those players with full time jobs often have to sacrifice their pay check during preparation camps and tournaments.
It is a difficult problem to solve really, as in order to gain funding, investors need to see results, however it is difficult to improve without support and investment. It is also a bit frustrating as in the past we have competed with top level teams, losing by a couple of points and even beating teams that have gone on to win medals. We have been right where we need to be, but because we were unable to secure a medal our funding was stopped.
I was lucky enough to be given a Scholarship from Loughborough University to pay for my Masters which helped me financially. It meant I did not have to get a loan to fund my education and I didn’t have to worry about finances while I was attending. Instead I was able to focus on becoming a better basketball player and on achieving my Masters which I am extremely grateful for.
Anywhere in Manchester really, but my favourite is probably where we play our home games this year, the National Basketball Performance Centre at Belle Vue.
It’s hard to pick one! I have been part of some amazing team wins in my career. Some games that stand out are scoring the game winning basket for Great Britain against the Netherlands in a qualification game to be promoted to Division A when I was 17. Winning the Championship playoff game for Leicester Riders in 2014 and receiving the Most Valuable Player Award for the game and then winning Premier BUCS Championship for Loughborough University in 2015. Another would be beating a very good Montenegro National Team with Great Britain last February 2016.
My best game this season for Manchester Mystics, and my most favourite to play in would be our game against previously undefeated Nottingham Wildcats. We won the game 88-56, which was a huge upset and shocked a lot of people!
My next big goal is to play in the Commonwealth Games in 2018 in Australia. After that who knows, hopefully we will have a chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020, playing in an Olympics would be my ultimate goal.