Nov. 9, 2017
By Brad Muller | More Features
Bianca Jackson's mom won't be in the stands to watch the freshman make her collegiate debut in South Carolina's season opener Friday at Colonial Life Arena. That's because Freda Freeman-Jackson will be on the opposing bench as Alabama State's head coach.
"I think it will be very interesting because I've never been on the opposing side of my mom," Jackson said. "She has always been in my corner and preparing me for the competition I'm playing against. To be playing against her is going to be very different. She and my dad have trained me my whole life, so there's not too much for them to scout. She knows everything I can and can't do.
"I thought it was really cool when I found out we'd be playing against her in my first game because not many people can say that. I know it's going to be really fun because I know my whole family will come out to support me."
Bianca's father, Lewis, is the head coach for the Alabama State men's basketball team. When you grow up with two head basketball coaches in the family, Jackson said "it's basketball all the time." Having that tutelage has paid off as she was named the Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior after averaging 24.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists as a senior at Brewbaker Tech Magnet in Montgomery, Ala.
"It helped me a lot because it helped me to see things from a coach's perspective," Jackson said. "If I feel like I'm doing something right, but I'm really not, they're going to tell me I'm not doing it right. Of course, as parents, they're still going to listen to me, but they're still going to tell what's right.
"Growing up, we were always going to somebody's gym. It was neat because I feel like my parents know everything there is to know about basketball, so to have them in my corner is pretty awesome."
There's no quitting. She always tells me if I work hard, the rest is going to come.
Now that she's in college, Jackson said she speaks with her mom every day as she adjusts to the pace of everything on and off the court. She knows she can call an understanding mom who has plenty of experience with freshman college student-athletes trying to find their way.
"As a mom, she understands, and as a coach she'll tell me I still have to get it all done," Jackson said. "There's no quitting. She always tells me if I work hard, the rest is going to come."
Jackson grew up as a fan of her mom and dad's teams, but now she is looking forward to starting her career and being on her mom's scout list as a player to try to stop.
"I used to work out with her team and go to her practices all the time, so we're on an even playing field with knowing what the other is going to do," Jackson said. "I was there growing up every day as a kid. It's in my blood. My mom and dad both played there, and they've been coaching there a long time."
Coming full circle, perhaps having mom on the opposing bench isn't so bad. At least she can watch her play, and if Jackson scores against her mom's team, maybe she'll get an accolade from the opposing coach.
"I'm going to smile at her," Jackson said. "She probably won't talk to me during the game, but if I run past her, she'll probably hit me on the butt. I'm just excited to get started. For them to be here for my first game is going to be great."
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