Decatur alum Ramona Jagger gets her shot at Seattle U

Before she put on a Redhawks uniform, Jagger was part of the class that set Decatur girls basketball in the right direction.

In an era of transfers and lack of trust in the system of college athletics, Decatur High School grad Ramona Jagger stands out and stands strong after committing to play basketball at Seattle University for her senior year.

Jagger is entering her fourth year at a school she didn’t know was even a real university back in high school.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know Seattle U existed, which is kind of embarrassing,” she said.

The 2020 Decatur grad found out about the school when a Redhawks coach came down to Federal Way to watch the 6’2” star play.

“Coach E. told me ‘A school is here to see you, it’s Seattle University’… I was invited for a visit and since it was close, it was pretty convenient,” Jagger said.

Besides Seattle U, there were other opportunities to play basketball at the next level. But the schools were farther away in California, which initially caught Jagger’s interest. But after seeing what the Redhawks had to offer, the choice was easy.

“Initially I didn’t want to stay close to home, but I am very glad I did. I can run home and grab anything when I need it. And as soon as I toured the school and got to know the girls and see them practice, I knew I wanted to come here,” Jagger said.

Before she put on a Redhawks uniform, Jagger was part of the class that set Decatur girls basketball in the right direction. She and the Gators made the state tournament in February 2020 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

“It’s been amazing (to see). Especially knowing throughout my four years we were continuously growing every year. Looking back on it now, it’s like we never got to beat (Todd) Beamer,” she said. “I went back for the Beamer game and we blew them out of the water.”

Since then, under Head Coach Elon Langston, the Gators have developed into one of the better teams in the NPSL. Last season, the Gators were a game shy of the state tournament. To be a part of the start of a successful program is something Jagger never envisioned.

“I got to see them grow as a team and as a whole program. You can tell they’re workshopping with younger girls and capturing people into Decatur, which is a first, especially for women’s basketball there,” Jagger said.

Since being at Seattle U, minutes have been hard to come by for Jagger.

“It was tough because I felt like there was so much I could bring to the table but there was no opportunity for it,” she said.

Jagger found herself watching more than playing, which was a really hard pill to swallow.

“I would push myself at practice and be vocal. I thought, if I’m not going to play, I’m going to put my energy into being the best teammate I can be,” Jagger said

But commitment to the team and herself pushed Jagger though those hard times.

“I was going to be the loudest on the bench and the most supportive on the bench and just accepting that… I’ve never been in this role before coming out of Decatur where I started my freshman year,” Jagger said.

This time around, she’s got more playing time early in the season. In her first two games, she’s started both and played over 15 minutes in both games, including 37 minutes against Cal State University Northridge.

“I have to get into a different mindset of, how am I going to take my advantages and what I bring to the table and capitalize on that,” she said.

The 27.5-minute average over two games more than triples her highest average per game back in 2020 of 8.1 minutes. The change came in the offseason: “I knew I wanted to step into a role more as the four (power forward). A lot of shooting and getting into my rhythm for threes and confidence in general,” Jagger said.

A new Redhawk coaching staff also lit a fire for Jagger.

“I was like, I’m just going to be an absolute workhorse. I am going to do everything in my power to crash the boards… (I am) figuring out how can I be a force on the court even if I am not scoring,” she said.

In her first game of the year she brought down ten rebounds, which is exactly what she wanted to do: “That’s the plan,” she said.

Jagger has one year of extra eligibility after her “senior” season, but is unsure if she will use that eligibility. With that in mind, she wants to soak in all she can during her senior year.

“It definitely means a lot more now. There are so many last-firsts … It’s just kind of fun, like our first travel trip was my last-first trip of the year,” she said.

Jagger has a lot of memories as well. Coming out of COVID and resuming basketball led to some memorable times.

“Last year when we weren’t expected to do much in the WAC tournament, we went down to University of Texas at Arlington and beat them. It was the best feeling because we knew we could do it, we just hadn’t gotten over that hump,” Jagger said.

While at Seattle U, Jagger is planning to major in design and minor in business with a plan to put those two together right out of college: “I want to be a realtor,” she said.

But that wasn’t always the plan: “For 18 years of my life I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then one day I was like ‘Nope, don’t want to do that anymore.’”

Her head turned toward interior design, but that is a tough major to come by, she said, so a major in design is her goal for the time being. Once she’s in the real estate field, her plan is to get into the interior design game.

“Design and business sounds like real estate,” she said with a laugh.

Jagger is in action in Seattle again on Nov. 29 as the Redhawks take on Utah Valley to kick off Western Athletic Conference play.