Petty, Jackson Win Alabama Mr. & Miss Basketball Honors
John Petty is set to arrive at Alabama in a season when much is expected of the Crimson Tide. Bianca Jackson will be trying to help the South Carolina women repeat as national champions.
Both collected more high school honors Tuesday when they were recognized as the state’s top basketball players.
Mae Jemison’s Petty repeated as Alabama’s Mr. Basketball Tuesday and claimed his third Class 5A player of the year honor. Jackson of Montgomery’s Brewbaker Tech was named Miss Basketball by the Alabama Sports Writers Association at a banquet sponsored by Alfa. She is also the 5A girls player of the year.
The 6-foot-5 Petty is the third player to win two Mr. Basketball awards, joining former Tide players Ron Steele and Trevor Lacey, another Huntsville product coached by Jemison’s Jack Doss.
“It’s a blessing, just being able to come in here and do what he did, follow behind in his footsteps,” Petty said.
He averaged 20.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game in helping lead Jemison to a state championship in the school’s first year. He helped J.O. Johnson win last year’s title.
Doss, who has won an Alabama-record 10 state titles, said Petty brings toughness to Tuscaloosa even as a freshman. He said Petty played with a group of college players as a ninth-grader, “and John was the best player on the floor.”
“Even at an early age, you could see that he was going to be special because he doesn’t back down from a challenge,” Doss said.
Jackson averaged 24.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists as a senior for Brewbaker Tech. She had a 58-point game against Greenville, the fifth-highest total by a girl’s player in Alabama High School Athletic Association history.
Like Petty, she is a four-time first-team all-state performer.
Two days before being named Miss Basketball, she watched on TV as the Gamecocks won the national title.
“It showed me a lot of things about how hard they were working to be able to win that championship,” said Jackson, a four-time all-state performer. “To repeat would be a big deal for the university and my teammates and coaches when I get there.”
Fellow South Carolina signee Haley Troup of Gadsden City High was the 7A girls player of the year.
Joining Jackson and Troup on the Girls Super 5 team are Faith Academy’s Unique Thompson, Charles Henderson’s Maori Davenport and Homewood’s Ajah Wayne.
The boys Super 5 team included Petty, Mountain Brook’s Trendon Watford, Pelham’s Alex Reese, Hale County’s Herb Jones and Sacred Heart’s Diante Wood.
While Jackson and Troup are headed for a program at the top, Petty thinks he’s bound for one that’s on the rise. He and fellow guard Collin Sexton will both arrive as five-star recruits for coach Avery Johnson’s team.
“He’s great. He’s the best point guard in the country to me,” Petty said. “I’m just ready to get the chemistry going with each other and just ready to make it to the Final Four.”
Asked if he expects big things from the Tide next season, he said: “Most definitely. Just like football.”
(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)