DURHAM, N.C.— Over the summer, the Blue Devils will be catching up with Duke women's basketball alumnae to see what they have been up to since leaving Durham. Our next alumna is 2014 graduate Richa Jackson.
Over a span of four years with the Blue Devils, Jackson competed in 115 games, while making 47 starts. She averaged a career-best 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds, while hitting 51.1 percent of her field goals as a sophomore. Jackson suffered a torn ACL in her 25th game that season and was limited to only 27 games the following season. The 6-0 versatile Jackson was a McDonald’s All-America selection and 2010 Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year honoree.
Since graduating from Duke, what have you been up to?
Since graduating Duke, I’ve been busy being a mom and a wife. I married my college sweetheart (Rodney Hood) in July of 2016. We have a two-year-old son and twin (boy & girl) newborn babies. So on top of my husband’s NBA schedule and our children, things have been pretty hectic lately but we’re adjusting.
You had a chance to play professionally after graduation. What was that experience like?
Yes, I played overseas for half a season but unfortunately I didn’t have the best experience for a number of reasons so ultimately it didn’t work out.
Your family has grown a lot over the last few years with the addition of your son and then twins. You must have your hands full now?
Yes, I definitely do! Thankfully, my mom has moved in with us and she’s been a big help! It gets difficult at times trying to give my two-year-old the same amount of attention as he was getting prior to the twins. However, I’m making a conscious effort to give him as much attention as possible. Ironically, He’s a daddy’s boy so now that the season is over, Rodney has been interacting and playing with him so much, he’s having the time of his life :).
How has the move from Utah to Cleveland been and what has it been like going through the playoff run?
It was a difficult transition initially because I was seven months pregnant at the time, and we were living out of a suitcase and in a hotel for roughly a month, with a toddler. However, once we were able to find a house that was big enough for the amount of space we needed, while being in close proximity to the arena and practice facility, things improved drastically!
Overall, the playoffs were a good experience. We were able to make it to the finals, while playing with and against the greatest players in world. The atmosphere in the arenas during the playoffs is something I’ve never seen before. It was really amazing to witness. Although, I have noticed that watching basketball games, especially during the playoffs, is a lot more stressful than playing ever was.
Have you been able to keep in touch with many former teammates/coaches?
Yes, I speak to Chelsea Gray and Chloe Wells more frequently than anyone. They both were a part of my bridal party! Many others like; Tricia Liston, Haley Peters, Elizabeth Williams, Jenna Frush, Amber Henson, and Shay Selby were in attendance. I also follow them on social media which allows us to keep up with each other and communicate. I haven’t talked to any of my former coaches personally but I follow them on social media! Coach Candice Jackson came to my wedding as well!
Do you still follow DWB and watch games when they are on television?
Yes! I follow DWB on Instagram and I’m aware of their schedule every year, so I try to catch as many televised games as possible. If I’m unable to watch the games, I definitely keep up with the scores online!
Have you been able to make it back to Durham recently?
No, unfortunately I haven’t. Rodney and I are planning on returning sometime soon!
Do you get a chance to play basketball any these days?
No, I haven’t played basketball in forever. I’m contemplating on joining a basketball league because I miss playing occasionally. Nevertheless, I enjoy watching it and living vicariously through Rodney!
When looking back on your days at Duke, what are some of your favorite memories?
Some of my favorite memories were spending time with my teammates. Meeting various people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. Winning two ACC Tournament championships and meeting my husband.
Have you developed any new hobbies, etc., that you are involved with these days?
No, I haven’t picked up any new hobbies. Motherhood takes up majority of my time.
How has a Duke degree helped you?
I haven’t put my Duke degree into use yet but eventually it’ll definitely home in handy!
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to our current student-athletes?
I would merely say take advantage of all your opportunities academically and athletically. Enjoy your time being a student-athlete and having people around you who genuinely care about you! People who want to see you succeed.
Do you remember a specific class and/or professor at Duke that you really enjoyed while in school?
I really enjoyed all of my theater classes. Coming into Duke as a freshman, I was very shy and soft spoken. My theater classes challenged me and got me out of my comfort zone. One of my professors, Ellen Hemphill, was very beneficial as well. She was willing to work with outside of class and pushed me to become more open and confident speaking, and acting in front of large crowds.