Marians Demetrius Jackson commits to Notre Dame
Posted: 09/27/2012 at 9:58 pm
By: Rachel Terlep
Click here to view in a gallery.
Marian’s Demetrius Jackson(11) tries to get around Jimtown’s Justin Brown in a Jan. 11 game. The Marian star point guard announced Thursday that he would continue his academic and athletic careers at Notre Dame.
Truth Photo By Larry Tebo
The Goshen Redskins took on the Marian Tuesday evening in the Knights gym in Mishawaka to open the boys basketball season. ¬ Marian's Demetrius Jackson brings the ball up court. ¬ (Truth Photo By Larry Tebo) ¬ ¬
Demetrius Jackson ¬ 2011-2012 Marian varsity basketball ¬ (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) ¬ ¬ ¬
Demetrius Jackson, a senior point guard at Marian, announced that he plans to play at Notre Dame.
Jackson had been wrestling between Notre Dame and Illinois, and planned to make his decision at a live press conference at the WNDU studios Thursday afternoon, but ESPN broke the news two hours earlier, while Jackson was still in school.
“It was difficult, just trying to distinguish the differences between the programs,” Jackson said of his decision. “They both have great opportunities for me and great things to offer, but I feel like Notre Dame had kind of the best of both worlds. Also I feel like Notre Dame will prepare me for life after college because I know there’s more to life than just basketball.”
Jackson said he was “blessed” to have been recruited by both schools, adding that he ultimately made his decision Thursday morning after needing to “sleep on it” one more night.
When he broke the news to Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, Jackson said Brey gave him a hug.
“He’s a funny guy,” Jackson said. “I like hanging out with Coach Brey.”
The 6-foot-1 Jackson is rated the No. 4 point guard in the 2013 recruiting class by ESPN and rated No. 19 overall.
Last season, he led coach Robb Berger’s Class 3A Knights to a 22-4 record and the program’s first-ever regional crown to go with a first sectional title in 43 years.
Jackson averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.2 steals last season. He has been the top vote getter on The Truth’s All-Area team each of the last two years.
Jackson said he tried to factor Notre Dame’s proximity out of the recruitment process but looks forward to having “all the hometown fans and all fans of Notre Dame supporting” him. He’s also excited for Notre Dame’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference in upcoming years.
“I can’t wait to play at Notre Dame and compete for championships,” Jackson said.
Rod Creech, who coaches the MBA Select AAU team that Jackson plays for in the offseason, said that Jackson began to emerge as a special player during his sophomore year.
“He always had the ability to play at a really high level athletically,” said Creech, who sat next to Jackson as he addressed the media at the ICE Athletic Center. “When he became a sophomore, you started to see the passion and the fire burn in his stomach and his eyes every time he stepped on the floor. That sophomore season, he became a player where I thought, ‘Wow, this guy has a real chance to be a superstar.’”
Beyond his physical abilities, Creech has watched Jackson’s game develop on a more intangible level over the years. When asked which area he’s seen Jackson improve on the most, Creech immediately pointed to leadership.
“I don’t even have to think about that one,” Creech said. “Leadership. His qualities as a leader. The way that he communicates with his teammates now, the way that he communicates with his coaches, the mentorship he provides for the younger players in our program and the younger players in his [Marian] program. When you watch all that stuff you see a great young man that’s come from a seventh grade basketball player liking the game to a complete person that’s ready to tackle the world, win national titles and bring some big things to South Bend, Ind.”