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NAIA player of the year is 'cherry on top' of amazing career for Carroll's Jamie Pickens

Posted at 8:39 PM, Apr 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-04 22:39:28-04

HELENA — Jamie Pickens' journey from Helena High School to Carroll College has included many accolades, most recently the biggest of them all: NAIA women’s basketball player of the year.

“Coming back another year was obviously a big decision," Pickens said. "I knew I wanted to go after something, so finding that out and being among those really great basketball players in the NAIA — there are so many people with so much talent — it is just such an honor to be atop of those names, especially at Carroll.”

Pickens ranked first in the nation in field goals (250), free throws (159), defensive rebounds (297), total rebounds (396), rebounds per game (11.3), blocks (54), points (661) and points per 40 minutes (23.3) and was second in the nation in offensive rebounds (99) and points per game (18.9). The senior forward recorded 25 double-doubles on the season and posted 32 of 34 games in double-digit points, with 11 games with 20-plus points and four games with 30 or more.

During her tenure at Carroll, and especially this season, the awards just kept pilling up for Pickens, from Frontier Conference player of the year to the NAIA tournament first team to name a few.

Now, after being named national player of the year, there is no better way to go out, according to the star post player.

"For me, I would say it is just like the cherry on top, it just wraps everything up," she said.

For her career, Pickens joined Jolene Fuzesy as the only Fighting Saints to score 2,000 career points. She also set the program's all-time rebound mark with 1,035 in her career.

Pickens is the first player in Carroll history to be named a first-team All-American in consecutive seasons.

While Pickens accomplished just about everything she could while at Carroll, she credits coach Rachelle Sayers for all her success

“She was like, 'If you come back, I am going to make you national player of the year, you will be that player of the year,'" Pickens said.

Though this award is quite special for Pickens, she is most proud of her team and what the Saints were able to accomplish throughout this season by making it to the national semifinals for the first time in program history.

"Every game and every week we got better and better, and we were playing our best basketball when it really mattered," Pickens said. "I think just being a part of that and having a role in that was something I will never forget. It was just such a fun run for all of us and something that all of us will cherish forever."