Niceville’s Jessie Day Follows Sister to Troy
Roll out the welcome mat, Lauren Day. Little sis is headed to Troy.
Jessie Day, the area’s preeminent triple-double threat and a key cog in Niceville’s emergence from basketball obscurity, signed a full-ride with the Sun Belt Conference program Wednesday in front of a packed gym of family, friends, teammates, coaches and fans.
And there to welcome her to the Trojans family was, of course, her “biggest role model” and future teammate.
“I think it’s going to be awesome to play together,” said the Troy junior, a 2013 Choctaw graduate who helped the Indians to a state title appearance her senior year. “Even in AAU we were always on a different team so I’m thankful for the staff at Troy to give us this opportunity.”
Echoed Jessie, “She’s my best friend. I’m so excited. And I have someone to show me what I’m about to go through. Going to college is already a big transition, but having someone there I can relate to and learn from is going to make it a lot easier.”
Also there was her “rock,” dad and coach David Day.
Yet the 6-foot-1, 18-year-old had other sobriquets for the 2014 Daily News Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
“Chauffer,” “bell hop” and “chef” elicited laughter from the crowd, and she threw in “personal rebounder” and “biggest fan” for good measure. Essentially, “my everything,” she said.
“Thanks for putting up with my music choices in the car,” the four-year starter deadpanned.
Of course David’s been here before, celebrating Troy’s offer to Lauren in the late summer of 2013.
“It’s pretty cool having two Division I basketball players,” he told the Troy-clad crowd, who put up posters announcing Jessie as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time). “Only one percent of high school basketball players play Division I.”
“A Division I scholarship isn’t just given to anyone. You have to earn it, and she’s earned it. She’s got the recognition from college coaches and that’s the most important thing.”
Of course this stage was different – more formal and more ceremonial considering their ties as coach and daughter.
“They’ve been able to breathe life into our girls basketball program,” Athletic Director John Hicks said. “It’s amazing where we were and where we are now. It’s a combination of the two: great players like Jessie and great coaching.”