Former Michigan Miss Basketball joins one of college basketball's elite programs

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

A former Michigan Miss Basketball is joining one of college basketball's most storied programs.

Rickea Jackson, a forward out of Detroit Edison who won the state's top prep honor in 2019, announced Thursday she has committed to the University of Tennessee, winners of eight national championships.

Jackson played parts of three seasons at Mississippi State before deciding to enter the transfer portal earlier this year. At the time, she was leading the SEC in scoring, at 20.3 points. She also was averaging 6.8 rebounds and nearly a steal a game.

Detroit Edison's Rickea Jackson is transferring to Tennessee.

She posted on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, "I’m hereee," with pictures of her in orange and white.

In January, she announced on Instagram her intentions to move on from Starkville. She wrote:

"First and foremost, I would like to say that my time in Starkville has been absolutely amazing. It was always a dream to play in the SEC, and Hail State gave me that incredible opportunity. I have grown so much as an individual and as a basketball player over the past 3 years. Starkville became home and I will always be part of the Mississippi State family. With that being said, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal and find a new place to call home. Thanks to everyone who has supported me."

Jackson played in 15 games this season before deciding to transfer. She played for three different head coaches during her tenure at Mississippi State, with the one who recruited her to Starkville, Vic Schaefer, leaving for Texas after her freshman season; a second, Nikki McCray-Penson, stepping down for health reasons; and a third, Doug Novak, coaching her this season.

Through all the changes, Jackson led Mississippi State in scoring each of her three seasons, but the Bulldogs haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 2019, the season before she arrived on campus.

In Knoxville, Jackson can play immediately because of new transfer rules, and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, if she chooses to use them booth. She will be eligible for the WNBA Draft in 2023.

Tennessee, which became a national powerhouse under late head coach Pat Summitt, has made every women's NCAA Tournament, since it began in 1982. Kellie Harper is in her third year as head coach. Tennessee has recruited many state-of-Michigan stars over the years, most notably Dena Head, who starred at Canton before helping lead the Volunteers to a pair of national championships, in 1989 and 1991, and being named the SEC's player of the year in 1992.

At Detroit Edison, she led the school to three consecutive state championships, and was a three-time Class C state tournament player of the year. She averaged 22 points during her senior year.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984