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Scoring milestone the latest accomplishment for Carroll great Jamie Pickens

Jamie-Pickens.jpg
Posted at 1:53 PM, Dec 08, 2023

HELENA — Jamie Pickens has become one of the greatest players to don a Carroll College women's basketball uniform. Just ask Saints coach Rachelle Sayers.

“This has been a long journey for her. She started playing a long time ago and she’s always been that player,” says Sayers. “She continues to get better every year. She’s basically unstoppable one on one in the paint and that’s a credit to her and the time that she’s put in.”

The 6-foot-2 Pickens, who grew up in the Capital City and is a former Helena High Bengal, has now eclipsed 1,500 career points as a Saint and is nearing 1,000 career rebounds as well.

“Having a team, and a staff that trusts in me, just gelling with them, I wouldn’t have those opportunities if I wasn’t getting passed the ball. I give credit to my team all the time but, it really couldn’t happen if it wasn’t for them,” said Pickens.

Since transferring from the University of Montana, the NAIA first-team All-American has played in 100 games for Carroll and has started 99 of those. This year she is shooting 53.9% from the floor and 90.9% from the free throw line.

“Jamie’s never been one that’s loved the spotlight even though she always has been (in it) her whole career," Sayers said. "Her just embracing that and being OK with all the accolades and all the recognition she’s getting, and not feeling like pressure, to be able to go out and enjoy the moments that she has, and not play with all that pressure, I think that’s the biggest growth that she’s had.”

Pickens has always been about her teammates, notching nearly 175 assists during her Carroll basketball career.

“Super great chemistry. We’re together 24/7, but I really love the seniors this year, everyone just gets along and there’s no drama and I think that’s a huge factor, I don’t think a lot of teams get to have that chemistry like we do,” proclaimed Pickens.

Pickens dominated in high school for the Bengals, becoming the state's back-to-back Gatorade girls basketball player of the year during her junior and senior seasons, helping guide her squad to three state championships while receiving state tournament MVP honors twice.

She left Helena High as its all-time leading scorer, rebounder and is No. 1 in double-doubles, which is a trend that has continued at the collegiate level.

“Coming to camps when I was a little kid, you never really thought that this was going to happen," Pickens said. "After going to U of M, I never thought I was going to come here, but (Sayers) is super awesome, and just being able to play in front of all my family and friends ... it takes me thirty minutes to get out of the gym after I’m done with the game, because I’m saying hi to everybody that comes.

"It’s just such an awesome experience and I know I’m lucky, because not a lot of people are able to do that and I think that’s an attribute to my success.”

According to her family and friends, Pickens always wanted to be a Lady Griz growing up in Montana and she accomplished that goal, playing in 29 games as a true freshmen at UM, scoring about 8.0 points per game with 3.7 rebounds per game.

After a coaching change at UM in 2019, Pickens decided that it was her time to return home. However, Pickens still holds a piece of Missoula in her heart,

“I have family obviously in Missoula and just the people there and the teachers were awesome. I do miss Missoula. Being a Lady Griz was awesome, but I’m glad I made this decision and it’s the best decision that I’ve made thus far," she said.

“I’m super lucky to be able to wear this (Carroll) jersey. It means a lot. You’re lucky if you can play at Carroll, go to Carroll, learn from the best at Carroll, so I’m super happy to be able to be a part of that.”
 
Having an assistant coach such as Hannah Dean, who set multiple records in her own right at Carroll, is another benefit Pickens has in her final season.

“There would be nobody more excited to see Jamie break these records than Hannah, and I think as coaches that’s our job, to help these kids get to a level that maybe they didn’t even think they could get to. Hearing it from somebody that has been able to achieve those things is always super beneficial for these players,” mentioned Sayers.

"Jamie is the catalyst to everything we do offensively. In my opinion, she should be in the conversation for national player of the year, but she's also a great facilitator, being able to facilitate our offense through her has been huge for us. I think that she is going to go down as probably one of if not the best player to wear a Saints uniform here on the women's basketball team," said Sayers.

Pickens says she isn't focused on the honors or the accolades which she's earned, because this group has its sights set on bigger things.

“This is a special team, I think we’re a super talented team, just representing my team and my community in a great way,” Pickens said.

Carroll's J. Pickens
All-American, Jamie Pickens knocks down a layup during a team practice at Carroll College

 
“I can’t come back, so this is really it," Pickens said. "I’m really stepping into that vocal leader role which I wasn’t before, so just kind of figuring that out and taking these younger kids and just kind of putting them under my wing along with Maddie and the other seniors, just figuring out who we are and working with the coaches. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that,” stated Pickens.