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Detroit Edison’s Rickea Jackson is named the 38th winner of BCAM’s Miss Basketball award

By: Matthew B. Mowery, March 18, 2019, 1:00 pm

DETROIT — Some people get cars for their 18th birthday. Some get luggage. Others get money.

Detroit Edison senior Rickea Jackson got a trophy — one she actually wasn’t expecting.

Everyone else may have assumed it was a likely conclusion that Jackson would be named the 2019 winner of the Basketball Coaches’ Association of Michigan’s Miss Basketball Award, but the senior had no idea why her coach came over to her house on Saturday, for her birthday.

“They had it on video and everything. They got me,” Jackson said, admitting she was stunned.

“Definitely. I thought it was just a birthday card, because it was my birthday. It was a little weird, because my coach (Monique Brown) just came over. She usually tells me when she’s about to come over, and she just popped up. And I thought they were about to leave, and my coach was like, ‘Here’s your birthday card. Happy birthday!’ I knew there was money in there, so I closed my eyes and let the money fall, so I didn’t see how much it was. And I was reading it, you know, just being goofy, and I was like ‘Congratulations, you are the … *gasps* …’

“I was like, ‘No, I’m not!’ I was just in such disbelief. I cried. It was just amazing. Amazing.”

She was introduced Monday afternoon as the 38th winner of the award in a press conference at the offices of the Detroit Free Press, the co-sponsor of the award, now named after longtime Free Press sports writer Mick McCabe.

“I would like to start by thanking my teammates, of course. Without them I would not even have this award. I’d like to thank my parents for always being there, and doing the behind-the-scenes things that made me who I am today,” Jackson said. “I’d like to thank the BCAM committee and everyone who voted for me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you to my coaches for always pushing me in practice and making me the player that I am today.”

The 6-foot-3 wing, who is signed with Mississippi State, was the first Michigan girls player to be selected for the McDonald’s All-American Game in nine years — and the first from the city of Detroit to ever earn the honor — and was twice named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Michigan, the most recent honor coming earlier this month.

That was part of the reason she thought she might not get this one.

“Honestly, this wasn’t expected, because I had all the accolades,” Jackson said. “I honestly thought that they would think that I had too many accolades, so I wouldn’t get this award. I was definitely surprised.”

Jackson finished with 2,939 points from the voting, giving her nearly a 1,000-point lead on the other three Miss Basketball finalists —  Saginaw Heritage’s Moira Joiner (1,988 points), Grosse Pointe North’s Julia Ayrault (1,826) and Muskegon’s Alyza Winston (1,707) — who were all grouped closely together, within 200 points of each other.

She said she’d played against Winston and Joiner before, but had not played against Ayrault.

“They’re really great players, both point guard, very crafty and fast. I just want to congratulate them for making it to the finalists,” Jackson said.

Jackson is just the second winner from Southeast Michigan in 18 seasons — Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s Madison Ristovski, the 2012 winner was the other — and the first from the city limits of Detroit since 1990, when Detroit King’s Markita Aldridge won it.

“That’s very special. I’m all about creating legacy, creating history, so to be able to continuously create history is amazing,” Jackson said, admitting it would be great to come back to Edison in the future, and see the trophy with her name on it, next to the state championship trophies she’s helped bring. “That’ll be very cool, just to know that people I’ll know in the future can come back to the state, see my name on the trophy, just creating history.”

Through the district semifinals, Jackson was averaging 22 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, and came into the postseason with 1,771 career points.

The Pioneers (24-1) have not lost to a Michigan team in 36 games — their only loss this season was to Columbus (Ohio) Africentric in December — and are still alive in the postseason, facing Goodrich in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Surviving past that game would put them Edison just two wins away from a third straight state championship, this one in Division 2 after the last two in Class C. They would become the fourth program to win three state titles, joining Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (2010-12), Detroit Country Day (1997-99 and 2002-04), Portland St. Patrick (1994-96) and Leland (1980-82) to accomplish that feat.

It will also put Jackson and her Edison teammates back on TV, something she agreed probably helped voters know who she was.

“I think it was a huge advantage to be able to play on TV,” she said. “Not everyone can see you — there are plenty of people all over the state who want to see me (play), but just cannot. So to be able to play on national TV made a huge difference.”

The Miss Basketball winners:

1981 — Julie Polakowski, Leland (Michigan State)

1982 — Sue Tucker, Okemos (Michigan State)

1983 — Michele Kruty, Manistee (Dayton)

1984 — Emily Wagner, Livonia Ladywood (Stanford)

1985 — Franthea Price, River Rouge (Iowa)

1986 — Daedra Charles, Detroit de Porres (Tennessee)

1987 — Dena Head, Plymouth Salem (Tennessee)

1988 — Jennifer Shasky, Birmingham Marian (George Washington)

1989 — Peggy Evans, Detroit Country Day (Tennessee/Ohio State)

1990 — Markita Aldridge, Detroit King (UNC-Charlotte)

1991 — Lisa Negri, Flint Powers (Ohio State)

1992 — Erinn Reed, Saginaw (Iowa/Kansas)

1993 — Sally Sedlar, Manistee (Toledo/Central Michigan)

1994 — Kim Knuth, St. Joseph (Toledo)

1995 — Maxann Reese, Bishop Borgess (Michigan State)

1996 — Deanna Nolan, Flint Northern (Georgia)

1997 — Aiysha Smith, Bishop Borgess (St. John’s/LSU)

1998 — Kristen Koetsier, Grandville (Western Michigan)

1999 — Vicki Krapohl, Mt. Pleasant (Duke)

2000 — Tabitha Pool, Ann Arbor Huron (Michigan)

2001 — Liz Shimek, Maple City Glen Lake (Michigan State)

2002 — Danielle Kamm, Saginaw Nouvel (Marquette)

2003 — Krista Clement, St. Ignace La Salle (Michigan)

2004 — Tiffanie Shives, Lansing Christian (Michigan State/Gonzaga)

2005 — Allyssa DeHaan, Grandville (Michigan State)

2006 — Brenna Banktson, Frankfort (Western Michigan)

2007 — No award given *

2008 — Kellie Watson, Ionia (Notre Dame/Grand Valley State)

2009 — Jenny Ryan, Saginaw Nouvel (Michigan)

2010 — Klarissa Bell, East Lansing (Michigan State)

2011 — Jasmine Hines, Central Lake (Michigan State)

2012 — Madison Ristovski, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (Michigan)

2013 — Tori Jankoska, Freeland (Michigan State)

2014 — Lexi Gussert, Crystal Falls Forest Park (Michigan State)

2015 — Tania Davis, Goodrich (Iowa)

2016 — Kysre Gondrezick, Benton Harbor (Michigan/West Virginia)

2017 — Jordan Walker — Mona Shores, Western Michigan

2018 — Jaida Hampton, East Lansing (Wichita State University)