Top player in the state Rickea Jackson chooses MSU


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Rickea Jackson

New Mississippi State commit Rickea Jackson chose the Bulldogs over South Carolina.

Detroit Edison senior Rickea Jackson committed to the Mississippi State Bulldogs November 4. But the 6-foot-3 wing, top player in the state of Michigan, and ranked top ten nationally by ESPNW HoopGurlz Top 100, wanted to share the special moment with family, friends, and classmates.

Jackson held an official commitment ceremony Friday inside her school’s gymnasium. A commitment video played on the projector screen, before Jackson entered the gym to screaming family and friends, wearing a Mississippi State shirt and even had a real bulldog to accompany her. In her heart, she chose the right MSU.

“The first time on my official visit I had that feeling already,” Jackson said at her commitment ceremony. “I wanted to give the same opportunity to all of the schools. So I waited and took unofficials to South Carolina, Rutgers, and Mississippi State. The second time around I just knew for a fact that Mississippi State was the place for me.”

The commitment ceremony was the first time Edison had ever held such an event. Not because the school is only 20-years-old, but because they have never had a player like Jackson. In fact, the state has not had a player as coveted as her in decades, with elite programs South Carolina and Mississippi State vying for her services.

Jackson averaged 21.9 points and 10.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.6 blocks as a junior, leading Edison to a second straight Class C state title.

She had a Gamecocks hat sitting on the table, but turned down the opportunity to join the No.1 recruiting class in the nation to be a part of the family atmosphere in Starkville, Miss.

“I wouldn’t mind being part of it that class, but I wanted to go where I knew I would be comfortable, not because of a ranking,” Jackson said. “It’s just a family atmosphere there. It was a feeling that was not anywhere else. It felt like home. I was so comfortable.”

Rickea and Caryn Jackson

MSU commit Rickea Jackson and mother Caryn Jackson.

Jackson said she almost cried herself to sleep every night thinking about the recruiting process. She had built so many relationship with coaches across the country and did not want to tell anyone no. In her commitment video, she told Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer yes, for his ability to develop and possibly help her become a better defender. He also had high praises for her.

“Rickea has the skill set to do it all,” he said in a statement. “She is going to be fun to watch. Not only is Rickea very talented, but she is just a special kid who is driven. We are very excited about what Rickea has the ability to do for our program here at State.”

Being the frontrunner for Miss Basketball 2019 in Michigan and one of the top players in the country does not come with luck. It requires talent, hard work, and dedication. That is why Jackson has never gone to any school dances, proms, or other functions. She was busy shooting in the gym.

“It’s just something about the gym that brings me back,” said Jackson. “I would rather go to the gym than go to prom. The gym is my happy place and it blocks out everything that is going on in life. Getting in the gym puts me ahead of the game and I hate missing a day in the gym.”

Jackson obtained her basketball prowess from her family. Her godfather, Wilbert McCormick, was an all-state guard at Detroit Northeastern in 1976 and starred at Detroit Mercy for Dick Vitale. Her godmother is Debra Walker, a ‘70s all-stater at Detroit Mumford who played for Vivian Stringer at Cheyney State.

Caryn Jackson is her mother and was an all-state player at Detroit Murray-Wright in 1991 and played at Kansas in college. Rickea Jackson was destined to play basketball, even if she initially did not want to as a child. But her mother did not force her to. She just let life play out.

“I know how determined she is as an individual and how competitive she is,” she said. “I knew shew would be good at whatever she decided to do. Once she decided to play basketball, to watch how hard she worked and when I told her something, how quickly she picked it up, I knew that she would be great.”

Edison will play up a division this season, moving to Division 2, which used to be Class B. They are ranked the No.7 best team in the nation by Max Preps.

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