It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we first saw Angel Jackson at a camp as an incoming Salesian-Richmond freshman.
There was a lot expected from Jackson right from the start, and when you’re 6-5 that’s going to be the case, but not all big girls pan out the way Jackson has after further blossoming each year to a point where she is now the two-time defending Prep2Prep North Coast Section Player of the Year, and is moving on to Southern California on a scholarship where the expectations will be a whole lot higher than they were when she began her high school career with the Pride.
“It feels amazing and such a blessing,” Jackson said when told she was a repeat winner. “I knew all the hard work I put in would pay off and it truly did.”
Along the way Jackson was a McDonald’s All-American and a Jordan Brand Classic selection while helping lead the Pride to a 25-9 record playing against the nation’s toughest competition in tournament action, including a second win in four years in the CIF Open Division playoffs over an Archbishop Mitty team that was nationally ranked both times. Her season didn’t end in a CIF state championship but her Pride team made it the CIF Northern Regional Open Division title game before bowing out to Pinewood.
This past season the double-double machine had per game averages of 16.2 points and 12.0 rebounds, plus she averaged 3.6 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.3 assists a contest.
Other than her freshman season Jackson has averaged a double-double, and this year, with Salesian Coach Steve Pezzola asking her to score more, she had her highest per game scoring in average in her four-year varsity career, and also had her highest rebounding stats.
“Angel Jackson is a wonderful young lady and an extremely talented, team-oriented basketball player,” Pezzola remarked. “She was deserving of being a McDonalds’ All-American. Her defense was once again dominating and her offensive game improved dramatically, but to us what was more importantly than her physical skills was that she was one of our captains, a team leader and a big part of the winning team chemistry.”
For her career Jackson leaves Salesian with 1,659 points (12.7 ppg), 1,309 rebound (10.0 rpg) and 572 blocks which is 4.4 per game. Her rebounding and blocked shots will qualify for those career lists in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.
“My defense is the strongest part of my game,” Jackson remarked. “I love playing defense and I feel my ability to block shots, rebound, and defend the paint and perimeter has improved over the years and I’m proud of myself for that.”
One of her best games last season in a loss to Carondelet-Concord that Salesian later avenged at the West Coast Jamboree. Jackson had 30 points and 11 rebounds with five blocks, and even made three three-pointers.
“Since last year I believe my offensive game has improved tremendously,” Jackson said. “I can now shoot the three, still knock down the 15-footer and I believe my driving to the basket and finishing strong has improved.”
This past season the usually quiet Jackson also became more vocal when she took on the captain’s role.
“Being one of the captains last season taught me a lot of patience and how to be vocal with my team, and I know it will help me as I continue my career,” Angel said.
Jackson knows a lot will be expected of her at Southern California and she’s up to the challenge.
“At USC I’m most looking forward to developing my game and continuing to grow on and off the court,” Jackson said.
Angel says her goal is to play professionally but she’s thinking ahead of playing as well.
“I’ll be studying Early Education,” Jackson answered when asked about her course of study and continued. “Yes, I want to play professionally but I would like to come back to my Richmond community and become an elementary school teacher.”
The patience Angel learned as a team captain certainly will come in handy as an elementary school teacher, but when you’re 6-5 the kids may tend to listen.
Until then it’s off to USC for the Prep2Prep back-to-back North Coast Section Player of the Year award winner.
Here is a link to the full article: http://www.prep2prep.com/sports/girlsbasketball/2018/SeasonHonors/norcal/NCS/SeasonHonorsAllNCS.aspx