Aug 1, 2013, 2:02 PM EDT
The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team welcomes four freshman to the mix this upcoming season; Austin Torres, Steve Vasturia, V.J. Beachem and Demetrius Jackson. In addition to a sit down ‘getting to know’ video, each student-athlete took a few minutes to chat with me about their summer, coming to Notre Dame and some random thoughts they have. Jackson is the final piece of a four-part series that will look at each student individually, Torres’ was released last Tuesday followed by Vasturia’s on Thursday and Beachem’s this past Tuesday. Enjoy…
“I was always a big Kentucky and Duke fan growing up.” This is not something every fan wants to hear from an incoming freshman on their men’s basketball team. But when you hear Demetrius Jackson’s (D-Jay) talk eloquently about his love for Notre Dame and his excitement to work with the people within the Notre Dame family, you are glad he is on your side. Being a McDonald’s All-American doesn’t hurt either.
Jackson, one of the highest-touted guards to come out of Northern Indiana in quite some time chose to come to Notre Dame this past fall. Albeit he lived close to campus being a high school student at Mishawaka Marian (15 minutes from Notre Dame’s campus), he really didn’t follow the Irish growing up.
“I wasn’t a Notre Dame fan growing up” said Jackson. “I was uneducated on the University. Everyone always thought I would grow up and then go to Notre Dame. But that wasn’t the case. I was very uneducated about Notre Dame. Once I began to be recruited here, I started to learn and understand what Notre Dame is all about.”
The education Jackson received on the University was simple, “To be able to go to Notre Dame is very special. It’s a great school both athletically and academically and combines the best of both worlds. You would be hard pressed to find this anywhere else.”
Being educated on the University wasn’t all Jackson needed to know that Notre Dame was the place for him. He also needed to enjoy the people he would be around for the foreseeable future.
“The people I would surrounded by at Notre Dame are the reason I came here” Jackson stated. “The four freshmen that are here are great friends of mine. Also, the rest of the team are great to me and really good people. They make it simple to work hard and do difficult tasks because you are doing it with people you enjoy and want to do it with. Sometimes you may not want to do it, but when you have a great support group, it comes easy.”
Aside from the team, the coaching staff at Notre Dame caught the eye of Jackson while on the recruiting trail.
“I have developed a great bond with Coach Brey and Coach Solomon and I am really looking forward to learn under them” Jackson said. “I love how Coach Brey coaches, he coaches with you and not at you. Being a point guard that is something I really wanted to be a part of. The coaching staff here works together great. You have the funny coach in Coach Swanagan and the serious coach in Coach Solomon, who is more serious about business. I can’t wait to get started working with everyone and start understanding the sets we will be running this season.”
Growing up a fan of Duke, Jackson has watched the ACC for an extended amount of time. He believes being a part of the ACC will be beneficial not just on the recruiting trail.
“The BIG EAST was a great conference both basketball and academically, but seeing that Notre Dame has struggled in its postseason success I feel that being in the ACC will help prepare us more” Jackson commented. “I feel the ACC is going to help us change the culture of Notre Dame basketball.”
JACKSON’S HIGHLIGHT TAPE
Although he has been heralded as a McDonald’s All-American, an all-state selection and an MVP, Jackson has remained grounded.
“It would be great to be Freshman of the Year, but my ultimate goal is to better myself as a person, as a student and as a basketball player” Jackson said. “I know it is going to be a difficult path to be successful and it’s going to take a lot of determination and commitment, but I up for the task.”
Jackson will continue to make leaps during each passing year due to his late start to the game. His continued commitment to playing basketball began just four years ago, the future is bright.”I didn’t start playing organized basketball until I was older” said Jackson. “I first started playing when I was in fifth grade and even then I wasn’t that serious about it. I also had an injury in seventh grade that prohibited me from playing to the best of my abilities for a couple of years. Basketball really fell off my radar until my freshman year of high school and I started back up again.”
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