While battling girls and boys on the court throughout her childhood, she faced struggles off the court that she will no longer let stand in the way of the ultimate prize this year: a championship.
“I had a basketball in my hand since I was 2,” Jackson said.
Monica Jackson, the point guard for the women’s basketball team at Pierce, was named most valuable player of the California Community College Athletic Association during the 2010-2011 season, but she struggled in the classroom and was unable to lead her team or lend a helping hand during the last two seasons.
The burden of her absence has been weighing heavily on Jackson.
“I’m making more of an effort to try and pass my classes,” Jackson said. “I’m doing all the extras I didn’t do. I communicate with my teachers. I never did that before. I feel like I’m putting more of an effort in class, so it’s pushing me to come here and play basketball. I know it’s important.”
When Jackson’s not in the classroom, you can find her in the gym practicing her craft.
“That’s all I do, basketball and go to school,” Jackson said.
When Jackson came to Pierce in 2010, she was averaging 28.9 points per game as a senior at Chatsworth High School, and scored 42 points in her first game as a Lady Brahma.
Her quickness and knowledge of the game are what coach Jim Couch is looking forward to seeing the most.
“We’re hoping she can come back as strong as she was as a freshman,” Couch said. “If we can use her quickness in defense, we can have a pretty good team.”
Jackson knows she has a difficult season in front of her, but she’s had her fair share of obstacles over the last few years and is ready to overcome any challenge.
In 2011, Jackson was involved in an altercation off campus involving a student and a security officer according to a previous article from the Roundup.
Last month, her family was distraught with the news of a death of a child in the family. The financial burden almost ruined her family until Los Angeles based rapper The Game donated $5,000 to fund funeral arrangements through The Robin Hood Project, a campaign he started in efforts to help giving back to his community.
Her teammates Joi Beard and Zenith Hernandez explain how Jackson is a guiding force on the team.
“She has so much experience,” Hernandez said. “She helps us out on and off the court. Off the court, she’ll do workouts with us. Even in class, I motivate her to go to class; she motivates me to go to class.”
“I feel like for Monica, we’re not just her team- we’re another family for her,” Beard said. “For her to just know we’re there supporting her in everything she does, it means a lot.”
Jackson said this is the most humble team she’s ever been on.
“I want them to know that I’m all about them,” Jackson said. “It’s not about me …it’s about all of us together and I want us to all come together and be one.”
Jackson has been prepping for this season for years it seems; another chance to show the world just how talented she truly is.
“I use to have a lot of guys mad at me cause I used to tell them I’d bet my house on her to play 1-1,” Coach Charles White said. “I use to have a lot of people mad at me for a long time. Then they see her play and they say ‘ya, I understand.’ She’s just that good.”
Now that she’s back, Coach White said “I’d still put my money on her.”