Sparks Choose Jackson as Fourth Pick in WNBA Draft

In Brooklyn, New York, Rickea Jackson continued the tradition of Tennessee Lady Vols being selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft, making it four consecutive years with a Lady Vol chosen in the opening round. Standing tall at 6 feet 2 inches, the forward was picked by the Los Angeles Sparks as the fourth overall selection in the draft.

This achievement marked a historic milestone for the University of Tennessee, being the first time in its history that players were chosen in the first round for four consecutive seasons. Previously, the school had seen three first-round picks in 2001, 2002, and 2003, which was matched and surpassed by the recent streak from 2021 to 2023. Tennessee joined an elite group of schools, including UConn and Notre Dame, as only the third university to achieve such a feat.

Jackson’s selection was the highest for a Lady Vol since Diamond DeShields was drafted third overall in 2018. She became the 19th Lady Vol to be selected in the first round of the collegiate draft and the 21st overall, including elite drafts. Her journey adds to the legacy of Tennessee in the WNBA, with a total of 44 selections in WNBA college drafts and 46 including elite drafts. Additionally, Jackson’s selection marked the 18th top-10 choice and the ninth top-five pick for the Big Orange program.

Expressing her excitement about joining the Sparks, Jackson acknowledged the preparation she received from playing at Tennessee and Mississippi State. She emphasized the importance of overcoming adversity, which she believes has strengthened her for the challenges ahead.

Jackson joins Rae Burrell in Los Angeles, making her the seventh Lady Vol to be selected by the franchise. She looks forward to bringing her versatility to the team and aims to elevate her game further by focusing on conditioning and returning to top form after an injury.

This year’s draft, held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, was a notable occasion as it marked the return of a seated event with fans in attendance for the first time since 2014-2016.

Jackson’s impressive stats as the SEC leader in scoring and her performances against ranked teams highlight her prowess on the court. She concludes her college career with impressive numbers, solidifying her place among the top scorers in Lady Vols history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *