BIDWELL, Ohio — John Mills, the head women’s basketball coach at Alice Lloyd College, called River Valley’s Erin Jackson “a great steal.”
“Getting Erin into our program I think can really elevate our team,” said Mills. “Just her personality, she is going to win people over so quickly and the campus is just going to fall in love with her. That goes a long way in helping her be successful on and off the floor. I’m really excited about having her with us.”
Jackson said her feelings for Alice Lloyd are mutual.
“I’m very excited to play for Alice Lloyd,” said Jackson.
On Tuesday, the River Valley High School senior standout basketball player made it official, as Jackson committed to the Eagles by putting pen to paper.
The signing took place in the River Valley High School Media Center, as Jackson was flanked by her parents Ken and Monica Jackson, Mills, River Valley High School girls basketball coach Stephen Roderick, River Valley High School Athletic Director Rich Stephens and River Valley High School Principal T.R. Edwards.
Perhaps given River Valley’s close proximity to the University of Rio Grande, which competes in the River States Conference with Alice Lloyd, then Jackson soaring with the Eagles should be considered a “steal”.
Jackson said she chose Alice Lloyd, located in Pippa Passes Ky., for academic pursuits beyond the basketball floor.
She plans to major in Biology — followed by her goal to obtain her medical degree.
“I chose them because of the academics. They fit my standards, and I felt they would be the best fit for me for my future beyond basketball,” said Jackson. “I had some other schools that were interested, but none of them made such an effort as Alice Lloyd did to get me to commit with them.”
Jackson, who played varsity for the Lady Raiders for three seasons, also prefers to play at Alice Lloyd’s desired pace.
That is up-tempo and in transition as opposed to many half-court sets.
As a senior — in which Jackson started for the Lady Raiders — she averaged 16 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists per game.
Mills said the recruiting process of Jackson began through a mutual friend who teaches a basketball clinic in Huntington, where Jackson works out in the offseason.
“He called me and said I’ve found a kid and we have to get her (Jackson) to Alice Lloyd. She is everything you are looking for in a player. She is a great kid, she is athletic, she can shoot the ball, she can handle the ball, all these things,” said the coach. “We invited her to campus and the next thing you know, we really liked what we saw and made an offer pretty much immediately. Erin thought about it for a few days and took our offer. We think she is going to fit in our system really well with her talent.”
Mills, who has coached basketball for 33 years including 20 at Alice Lloyd with 13 of those being as the women’s head coach, called Jackson “a student of the game”.
“You can tell she has a great understanding of the game,” he said. “She is athletic as can be, has a very good vertical jump, she comes off screens and elevates on a jump shot, she can put the ball on the floor and handle it against pressure, she has three-point shooting ability, she can make free throws and can get to the rim and finish.”
Jackson explained her own strengths and weaknesses, and added she wants to work her way into the starting lineup as early as possible.
“I feel I need to improve on seeing the court better and my ball-handling, but I feel I have a strong three-point shot and a good ability to finish my drives,” she said. “There’s really no telling if I’ll be able to start right away. I’ll have to work throughout the summer and see where he puts me.”
Either way, being considered “a great steal” by a veteran college coach can only aid in Jackson’s cause.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106