Hickory’s Bell signs to play basketball at Lee

Hickory’s Bell signs to play basketball at Lee
Posted on 04/26/2018
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Jackson Bell, a senior at Hickory High, has signed to play basketball for Lee University in Tennessee starting this fall semester, 2018.  Bell earned a full scholarship to attend Lee where he plans to major in business.

An athlete his entire life, Bell believes his best skill in basketball is playing from the inside and outside—as he can post up and shoot for the three-pointer. “I have learned a great deal through basketball – including team work, hard work, and to never be satisfied,” said Bell.

Playing for Coach Andy Poplin at HHS, Bell shared that Poplin taught him how to push and to strengthen his shooting skills.  He treasures the team’s achievement of winning the conference tournament and greatly appreciates the Tornado fans that came out to support the team.

“Jackson Bell is easily one of the finest young men I have had the privilege of coaching,” said Poplin. “He averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds this year but his character was more important to our team than the stats he posted.  He was one of the backbones of our team culture,” said Poplin.  “We created five pillars to build our culture around: thankfulness, unity, humility, servanthood, and passion.  Jackson was a leader every day in establishing our pillars.  He was often unselfish to a fault, always trying to make sure other players got their share.  He plays the game with great passion, often taking defensive charges and pounding the floor and yelling with excitement.  He was always asking for high fives, to help our team build unity.

“While Jackson is a great leader and example for all, his impact as a player was felt in many ways.  Jackson did a little bit of everything for our team.  He could shoot the 3 to help stretch the floor or post up inside and dominate the paint.  He was one of our leading rebounders and a great team defender. 

“Jackson is a winner.  Our team went to the Elite 8 in the playoffs in both of Jackson’s seasons as a member of the varsity team.  He helped our team to back to back Christmas Tournament championships.  This year he helped our team to a 27-3 record and captured both the regular season and conference tournament titles,” said Poplin.

“I believe Jackson will have a great career at Lee University.  I fully expect for him to add big time contributions right away to the basketball program; but I know he will also carry the values that are at the very core of Lee University,” added Poplin. 

“I credit my success to many people along the way,” said Bell, “including Coaches Andy Poplin,  Mike Mackie, Shannon Sellers, Ron Murphy, Gary Pruitt, Chuck Scheide, Nathan Padgett, Isaiah Reeves, Brett Newman, Derrick Breland, Matt Kunz, Kris Huffman, Jeremy Ellis, Chris Brauns, Whitey Ball—and most of all, my dad—Mike Bell. I have great memories of dunking on my dad in a game of one-on-one in the back yard!”

As for academics, Bell praises his HHS pre-calculus instructor, Robin Chicelli.

The son of Mike and Susan Bell, Jackson appreciates the family support from his parents, his siblings, Elizabeth and Anna-Katherine Bell and his grandparents, Paul and Linda Schowalter and Whitey and Nancy Bell.

“I chose to attend Lee University because of the presence of God at the school—and I look forward to completing a lot of skill work in preparation for college athletics—with my classes and practice starting in mid-August,” said Bell.

Congratulations to Jackson Bell!