BOZEMAN — Madison (Jackson) Hall thought her playing career was over after last season ended for Montana State women's basketball.
She transitioned to a graduate assistant role within the program, ready to move on to the next stage of her career and coach.
Hall was practicing against the Bobcats on the scout team this past fall, and that's when she pinpointed a feeling: the want to return to the game of basketball.
"I think it was in, no, I know it was in a practice," Hall recalled when she figured out she wanted to play another season for the Bobcats. "I was like, 'I miss this. I do.'
"But I wasn’t going to say anything, you know, because I had made this decision, and I didn’t think coming back was even an option until (coach Tricia) Bin(ford) talked to me. And that was also another point where I was like, yeah, I’m here. I’m doing it."
Binford told Hall to take the weekend and reflect on coming back to use her fifth year of eligibility if that’s what Hall ultimately wanted to do.
Well, it took Hall less than 24 hours for her to decide to return, and Binford was ecstatic to coach her for one final season.
"'Jack' is elite at who she is," Binford said. "She is our core values to the very end. She’s one of the most selfless kids I’ve ever experienced coaching. She’s been in every situation as a player. Both a role player, a starting player, and she’s never changed."
Hall’s effort and discipline embodies what the team stands for. When she reflected on the why behind her return to the game, that mentality shines through.
"I really actually haven’t stopped to really think, why? Out of all the times of being able to come back, take a fifth year , the COVID year, and everything," she started to reflect on her decision to return.
And then she looked up and put it into words.
"But, I just love being able to see how far I can push my body. See how, you know, how hard am I? Can I really work?”
That's the trait of Hall's game that stands out most to Binford — nobody can outwork her.
"If you were to describe the way we are, how we want to play, the disruptive defense, I’m like, I think of Madi Jackson (Hall)," Binford said. "I’m like that kid is, you never want to get outworked, and you’re never going to get outworked on Jack’s day."
Hall’s role has continuously developed because of the different teams she’s been apart of during her time at MSU. One of the most unique dynamics is this season — Hall is one of the sole upperclassmen on the roster, and she’s had no trouble stepping up as a selfless leader the team needs.
"I feel like sometimes, I’m the momma of the team," Hall smiled. "I just make sure that the girls are good because, I mean, we have freshman that are stepping up into roles that’s not easy at all, and I’ve been in that situation. And, I just want to make sure that they know that I am proud of them."
And the ultimate goal behind her return?
"I want another ring," Hall said. "I want more. I’m grateful for the rings that I have, but gosh, the feeling is just, it’s a different type of feeling."
"I think my wedding day comes second to being Big Sky champ, I can’t lie," she laughed. "It’s just amazing."
Hall and MSU tip off against rival Montana in the first Cat-Griz meeting of the season at 2 p.m. Saturday at Worthington Arena. The game will be broadcast on the Montana Television Network.