Sprinter Jones to join Tulsa Shock

Updated: March 10, 2010, 10:37 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The WNBA's Tulsa Shock will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday to announce the signing of former track star Marion Jones.

Jones, now 34, worked out for Shock coach Nolan Richardson on Saturday.

"We're thrilled to have her," Richardson said, according to the Tulsa World. "In the workouts last week I saw how hard she works. She has things you can't teach, like speed and great hand and eye coordination. She looks chiseled. Her age [34] might be saying one thing but everything about her is saying she's young."

Jones was released in September 2008 from a Texas federal prison after completing most of her six-month sentence for lying about doping and her role in a check-fraud scam.

After long denying she had ever used performance-enhancing drugs, Jones admitted in federal court that she used a designer steroid from September 2000 to July 2001. She was stripped of three gold medals and two bronzes she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Jones is attempting her athletic comeback just eight months after giving birth to her third child.

"I started to think about wanting to get back into the world of sport last year," Jones said Saturday, according to the World. "I have an enormous passion for the game of basketball and I felt like I still had something to contribute to the world of sports."

Jones played college basketball at North Carolina, where she was the starting point guard on the Tar Heels' national championship team in 1994. She was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in 2003, but decided to concentrate on her track and field career instead.

Richardson told the World last weekend that Jones' shooting is not as sharp as it could be, but he noticed immediately Jones' work ethic and her ability to listen and focus on detail.

According to the World, Richardson also consulted with Jones' college coach, Sylvia Hatchell, who he said praised Jones' leadership skills and maturity.

"She will continue to grow back to the basketball world," Richardson told the World. "We'll work at getting her back to where she was as a young freshman in college. It's just a matter of getting into the gym and playing, and playing. She's my kind of player. She gets up and down the court. In my system, if you can play defense, you will get to play."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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