Pine Bluff native Juliet Jackson is arguably the most decorated women’s athlete in Pine Bluff High and University of Arkansas history.
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In 2014, Pine Bluff native Juliet Jackson was named a Southeastern Conference Legend as she became a University of Arkansas (UA) Hall of Famer. From 1986 to 1990, Jackson was an integral member of the University of Arkansas’ two most successful sports teams.
During her freshman year, the Razorbacks won the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, beating California 112-80 in the championship game. In her senior season, Arkansas beat Texas, ending their NCAA-record 183-game conference winning streak and the nation’s longest home winning streak at 47 games. Jackson aided in the Razorbacks’ 82-77 win with four clutch free throws, which helped earn the team a 12-1 road record and a Southwestern Conference (SWC) regular-season title. That season, during the NCAA tournament, Jackson scored 30 points assisting her seventh-seeded Arkansas team to beat UCLA in overtime and upset the highly-ranked Georgia team. Though Arkansas made the Elite Eight, they fell short of the Final Four, losing to tournament champion Stanford, 114-87.
During an interview with the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Jackson said, “I enjoyed all of my time spent (in Fayetteville). I would have to say my senior year was the best. It was the year we beat Texas to end their big winning streak and the year we went to the Elite Eight.”
As a two-time SWC second-team honoree, Jackson is currently top 20 in Arkansas history in both points and assists. She ranks 11th in career assists with 313. She also averaged 10.1 points per game and scored 1,213 points making her 17th in UA career history.
Jackson’s prolific basketball career did not start at the University of Arkansas, though. In 1983, Jackson met coach Jim Tyler while playing in a basketball game in Benton. According to Jackson, “He is one of the coaches that got me interested in playing AAU ball. That’s what really changed my future.” Thanks to donations made at Pine Bluff area banks, in the summer of 1984, Jackson and Tyler’s Arkansas Angels AAU team played basketball in Sweden, Finland, and Norway.
After entering Pine Bluff High School, Jackson racked up numerous honors. In 1984, as a sophomore in track and field, she earned all-America honors in the 4x400 meter relay. In basketball, she was the Gatorade player of the year for Arkansas, a Parade Magazine All-American, and an All-American by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. In 1985, Jackson earned Most Valuable Player of the 18-and-under national AAU Tournament in Fairfax, Va., after averaging 24 points per game for the Angels. Jackson is arguably the most decorated women’s athlete in Pine Bluff High history.
Jackson coached AAU for six or seven years but had to give it up when she took a new job at the Arkansas Community Corrections facility in Pine Bluff. When asked about her time coaching AAU, Jackson said, “Through coaching AAU, I think I have given that much back to the community that it gave to me.”
Written by: Ninfa O. Barnard