March 24, 2024 

Rickea Jackson teaches how to trash talk

Jackson and Talaysia Cooper really go at it — but it's added to their game

RALEIGH, NC — The Tennessee Lady Vols don’t agree on everything, but almost everyone in that locker room agrees on one thing: Rickea Jackson is the biggest trash talker in Knoxville, Tenn. 

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“Rickea [Jackson]. There’s no need to think about it. You’re welcome,” guard Jasmine Powell playfully responded to the question.

And Jackson agrees.

Jackson will trash talk in any game to anybody. Perhaps her most memorable trashtalking moment this year was after a nasty block on LSU’s Angel Reese, a known trash talker herself, where she yelled, “Gimme that sh–!”


Rickea Jackson SWATTED Angel Reese’s shot 😤 #lsu #angelreese #tennessee #collegebasketball #block

♬ original sound – ESPN

“Growing up with all brothers, you gotta be able to say something back. You can’t just sit there and get bullied all day. Being the only girl in the household, I had to fight for myself every day,” Jackson explained about her trash talking origins. Jackson has three brothers, and one who also played in college.

In any old game, even when they’re up by 20+, Jackson still chirps. During Saturday’s 29-point win over Green Bay, midway through the third quarter when her team was up by 20, Jackson was fouled and awarded a shot at the stripe. In her signature fashion, she hulk flexed, screamed “And-one!,” and was high-fived by her teammates. Then she sunk the bucket.

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Tips to trash

If you’re a budding hooper or just need some office inspiration, Jackson broke down a few trashy tips to The Next that she lives by.

First, Jackson says you can only be talking “a lot” of trash when your team is winning. 

“You can’t be losing my 40, and be like ‘And-one!’ You just gotta be quiet.”

Jackson’s philosophy also differentiates trash-talking from bullying. The point is to have fun. She suggests an “and-one,” and if the opponent talks back, hit them with a, “you can’t guard me.”

According to Jackson, smack talk should also be natural. She emphasizes that one should “never” force it. But the Tennesse star never has to worry about that.

And, her last guiding principle: it should be a two-way street. 

“If no one is talking back to you, just stop talking. That looks embarrassing,” Jackson said. “They normally start with me. And then I always finish it.”

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Teaching Talaysia

Jackson doesn’t discriminate; she’ll talk to anyone, as long as they talk back. She says almost every team she’s played this year contains a sparring partner, but her teammates bear the biggest brunt.

When asked about the team’s biggest trash talker, redshirt sophomore Talaysia Cooper was a very close second. And Cooper probably hears Jackson’s jawing more than anyone in the country. The two emphasize it’s all out of love, but they can’t help themselves as competitors.

“I’m on the scout team, so she score on me, she’s talking trash. I go down the court and score, I’m going to say something. If I get a stop, I’m going to say something. I just love her,” Cooper told The Next. “It make her want to go at me more … When somebody is talking trash [to my teammates], it just makes them go harder.”

The Vols say the Jackson-Cooper smack talk mostly revolves around buckets, but also trickles down to everything else — like who can get to the water station first. But it seems to have bettered both their games. For Jackson, she plays harder when she’s getting chirped.

And for Cooper, who’s currently redshirting, this season has been a challenge. Sometimes she struggles to find motivation and focuses on her mental growth. But when she can come to practice and gets into it with Jackson, it’s perhaps a little easier.

“She’s not backing down, and she knows for a fact I’m never in a million years backing down,” Jackson declared. “I’m just proud of her. It just goes to show she’s got grit … She pushes me every day.”

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Written by Gabriella Lewis

Gabriella is The Next's Atlanta Dream and SEC beat reporter. She is a Bay Area native currently studying at Emory University.

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