February 18, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: 2023 WNBA Draft outlook for two Tennessee stars

Both Jordan Horston and Rickea Jackson could be first round picks in the 2023 WNBA Draft.

In what’s been quite the compelling season in Knoxville for Tennessee, two Lady Vols have been right in the spotlight — both for their current play and what it means at the next level.

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The latest episode of Locked on Women’s Basketball continues our series of scouting reports on the top 2023 WNBA Draft prospects! In today’s episode, co-hosts Hunter Cruse and Em Adler discuss two Tennessee stars: wing/forward Jordan Horston and forward Rickea Jackson. (Note: Because of the video footage in this episode, we recommend watching it on YouTube rather than listening to it as a podcast.)

Adler and Cruse started with Horston, who entered the season as the No. 10 player on Adler’s Big Board. Through Saturday, she’s averaging 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 44.2% from the field — a number that Adler says shows that Horston is “solidly above average” for her position.

But it’s on the other end of the floor where Horston brings the most value, with Adler calling her defense “impeccable” for her ability to defend on the ball, stay out of foul trouble and make plays.

Listed at 6’2, Horston’s ability to handle the basketball, attack the lane and make an impact on both ends of the floor at her size are skills that Cruse and Adler find to be valuable now and ones that can translate to the WNBA level.

“Frankly, I think most teams could use a player like her at this point, given how the draft is set up,” Adler said. “Horston’s upside is just a more efficient version of Brittney Sykes. That would really fit for a team that really needs some wing defense, but also could use someone who can make some offense happen there.”

Meanwhile, Jackson entered the season as Adler’s No. 6 player on the Big Board and has still been solid, averaging a team-high 18.2 points per game and adding 6.2 rebounds. But both numbers are down from what she produced in 15 games at Mississippi State last year (20.3 points, 6.8 rebounds per game in 2021-22).

Still, Cruse considers the 6’2 forward has been one of the better play finishers entering the draft and the stats back it up, ranking above the 80th percentile in most shooting categories in and around the basket. Adler points out that Jackson has been used at the center position by coach Kellie Harper at times this year.

“When we’re talking about Rickea Jackson, we’re talking about a player that has the ability to be a plus on both ends of the floor,” Cruse said. “She can operate from the high post, she can get downhill — like, play out in transition a little bit. Ideally, you can also use her as a weak side rim protector, have her help over, switch a little bit on the perimeter and maybe she can be used as a screener as well.”

Both Adler and Cruse view Cheyenne Parker as a type of player that Jackson could end up emulating at the WNBA level, though Adler calls that an “upside play” in terms of projection.

Tennessee is currently 19-9 overall and 11-2 in the SEC, with ESPN’s Charlie Creme projecting the Lady Volunteers to be a No. 7 seed in his most recent bracketology. So both Jackson and Horston will have opportunities to shine under the biggest spotlights there are ahead of the WNBA Draft in April.

Make sure to subscribe to the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the 2023 WNBA Draft, WNBA trades and free agency, women’s college basketball and much more!


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