Graduate manager making impact from the bench

Mykia Jones will serve as a graduate manager as she earns her master’s degree.

Former graduate guard Mykia Jones dribbles downcourt during the Knights’ 64-57 win against the Owls on Feb. 10 at McGonigle Hall. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / FILE PHOTO

Mykia Jones didn’t go far from Broad Street after graduation.

After playing her final college season at Temple last year, Jones remains with the Owls as a graduate manager. 

When Jones transferred as a graduate student to Temple from Georgetown University, coach Tonya Cardoza knew Jones would need an extra year to earn her master’s degree in sport business. 

In her new leadership role, she has established herself as a bridge between the coaching staff and the players. She is a valuable part of the coaching staff because she can relate to players, many of whom she played with last season, Cardoza said. 

“She is still really good friends with some of the team, so she knows the position that they are in,” Cardoza added.   “She can give them advice and calm them down.”

Players like to go to Jones for advice during games because they know she understands their exact situation, said sophomore forward Mia Davis.

“I’m someone that they can relate to, kind of like a big sister,” Jones said. “Whenever [Cardoza] wants something, I try to send the message the best way I can to the team. Whenever they are going through stuff or have questions about anything, I’m able to be the bridge or a big sister for them.” 

Jones played at Wake Forest University her first two years then transferred to Georgetown. At Georgetown, Jones played as a senior after sitting out her junior year due to NCAA transfer rules. Last season, Jones played 30 games for the Owls, starting seven of them. 

For five seasons, Jones was a part of Division I basketball programs. 

“She is a great person to get advice from when we are struggling in games,” Davis said. “She has tips because she played for four years of college basketball, so she helps us get through tough moments.” 

The transition from player to graduate manager was easier than expected, Jones said. Still, she is unsure if she wants to pursue a future in coaching. 

Jones is not the first women’s basketball player to make this transition. Tyonna Williams, the director of basketball operations, graduated with a criminal justice degree in 2015, then stayed with the program as a graduate manager for the 2015-16 season. She was later promoted in 2016 to her current role.

Jones is unsure what the future holds and is going to keep an open mind about possibly coaching in the future. She is making a positive impact on both the coaching staff and the players through her prior experiences, even though coaching may not be part of her future, she said.

“I am in a good place right now,” Jones added. “I love it here at Temple and I just love the players. They are all like my little sisters, so they make it a lot easier for me and they have fun and a good relationship with the coaches.”

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