Tallahassee natives, WNBA draftees hope to influence youth

Posted at 10:37 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 23:38:14-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Only two basketball players from Tallahassee have ever been taken in the WNBA Draft, Florida High grad Dalila Eshe and Florida A&M University DRS product Jazmine Jones.

The two forever share that special bond and they're hoping to be an influence for the younger generation.

With the twelfth pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft the New York Liberty selected Jazmine Jones.

"Looking at all the mock Drafts, nobody had me in the first or second rounds," said Jazmine Jones. "Hearing it being called so early, it was definitely shocking. I was very surprised."

Jones made history on Draft night. The FAMU DRS grad is the first player from Tallahassee taken in the first round of the WNBA Draft.

"I was put on this earth to do something special and I want to continue to do that," Jones said.

She has someone to help lead the way. Besides Jones, Florida High product Dalila Eshe is the only other basketball player from Leon County to be taken in the WNBA Draft.

"There has been a lot of talent come out of Tallahassee in the last 14 years since I finished playing, but Jazmine is definitely one of a kind," said Eshe. "Very gifted, talented kid. I'm just really excited for her."

Eshe was drafted in the second round of the 2006 Draft, and while their dreams came true over a decade apart hat's exactly the example they want to be.

"It's just showing all of the young girls basketball players in Tallahassee that it's achievable, no matter where you're from," Eshe said.

"It's a good example for the people that are behind us," said Jones, "the younger girls that are behind us to strive for something bigger."

"Not only is it just watching professional women's basketball, but now they're watching, essentially one of their own," said Eshe. "Maybe they'll tune in a little bit more, they'll aspire to that level a little bit more, it'll push them to work a little harder."

"They always hit me up on social media saying, 'I always looked up to you,'" Jones said. "Those are just things that make my day better, knowing I was a positive role model in someone else's life."

A role model Jones is happy to be as a professional basketball player.

"Just to hear that title next to my name," said Jones. "It's a surreal feeling and something I always dreamed of since I was a little kid."

A dream she and Eshe hope to see other little kids from Tallahassee have soon.

Eshe is an assistant coach at Princeton. She said coaching and recruiting during this pandemic has been interesting to figure out.

Jones said she's training everyday and she doesn't know when she'll head to New York to join the Liberty.