Illini Considering Mishawaka Point Guard

There are several high quality point guard prospects in Illinois in 2013, but that is not stopping the staff from looking to possibly snatch away a top guard from its neighbors to the East. Demetrius Jackson has seen his stock rise this spring. The Illini coaching staff has been recruiting him for several months now.

Demetrius Jackson is a 6'-1" point guard from Marian High School in Mishawaka, Indiana. His strength is beating his man off the dribble and attacking the basket. He also has good vision and enjoys putting teammates in a position to score.

He says Illinois has started to show significant interest in him since late in his high school season.

"I have talked to Jay Price. He has been to a couple open gyms. I talked to him on the phone last week. He let me know they were serious about me, talked about their program, and how they develop their point guards. We brushed up a little bit on things and conversed."

He was impressed with Price's dedication during the Illini's 2010-11 season.

"He told me they were really serious about recruiting me and actually drove up to see me before driving up to Iowa for a game. He told me it was worth the sacrifice and trip to see me. I was really thankful for that comment.

Jackson and Price have built a good relationship and created an open line of communication over the last few months.

"He is a real great guy. He has given me compliments and has told me he likes my game. I have talked to him a few times. The best thing about it is we not only talk about basketball, but we talk about regular things. He is a great guy, and I am looking forward to getting to know him better."

The UI coaches have given him positive feedback on his game.

"They like my explosiveness. They feel like I do a good job of separating myself by not only scoring points, but dishing out to others, getting assists, and getting stops on the defensive end."

What does he like about the Illinois basketball program?

"I have a friend who likes Illinois, so he always brags about them. I like the atmosphere down there. I watched when they played North Carolina. That atmosphere was crazy! They played really well too.

I like how Demetri McCamey was given a lot of control. The offense was based off of him. Being the point guard I like to have the ball, but at the same time I like to contribute to a win while providing for others and myself."

He also likes how they put their point guard in the best chance to succeed by surrounding him with talent.

"I feel like they recruit a lot of good players, so the point guard has someone to pass to and doesn't have to do everything. I feel like they do a good job of surrounding you with players so you don't have to score the entire game."

He will get an opportunity to see the Illini program up close during a June visit.

"Coach Jay Price told me he wanted to get me up there for a visit in June. My parents and I are trying to figure out scheduling and go from there."

Jackson rattled off several other Midwest basketball powerhouse programs showing interest in him.

"Michigan State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Ohio, and Xavier."

To this point he has not received a scholarship offer, but that is extremely likely to change very soon. He has a busy June scheduled, as he would like to visit as many schools as possible.

"As a team, we are going to the Xavier camp. As an individual, I am going to the Michigan elite camp. I plan to visit Indiana, Notre Dame, Illinois, and Michigan State."

He is not in a rush to make his college decision but focusing on what he can do on the court.

"Right now, I am going to take my time and develop as a player. I am not going to worry about all that other stuff because sometimes kids can get caught up in things like that.

I am going to let it come to me and continue to develop more as a player and see if I can get more colleges interested. I feel after I make a few visits, I can narrow it down."

This past season as a sophomore for Marian, he averaged 22.2 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals per game. He put up numbers his school has rarely seen before.

"The season went pretty well. We set a few records. As an individual, I set the record for most points scored in a season and was 0.2 shy of the most points averaged in a season. Individually, I feel I had a pretty successful season.

It could have been better. There are always things you can improve on to get better with your game. You can never be a perfect player, but you use those things as a learning experience."

He brought his team's level of play to new heights and raised the bar for future years at Marian.

"As a team, I feel we accomplished a lot of things. We had great chemistry, being together for a year previously. Next year we will return all five starters for the second straight year. I feel like we have a real good chance of making a run next year.

Our team finished up 15-7, which was the best record in twelve years. We made a big accomplishment but are staying humble and hungry, trying to get better and improve because there were games where we ended up losing by only a few points. If we could have turned those games into wins, the season would have been a lot better."

Jackson described his game.

"I am fast, sometimes too fast for my own good! I am explosive around the rim and overall. I have a lot of physical ability and am working on development in my skill set. I am also working on my jump shot and digging deeper when the game is on the line."

He feels he has several strengths that make him a high major prospect.

"I am a good leader for my teammates. I provide my team with a lot of energy, whether it is diving for a loose ball, dunking the ball, getting a steal or making a big play. I feel like I provide a lot of energy and enthusiasm for my team. I am pretty good at driving to the basket."

He is playing with MBA on the AAU circuit this spring . He discussed his play over the past few weeks.

"I felt like I had a great weekend at Spiece where I could not miss a jump shot. Then this past weekend, I felt like I couldn't make a jumper. I am just trying to be more consistent with my jump shot. Everything else will come."

Illinois will certainly use one of their scholarships in 2013 on a point guard. Jackson talked about his skills as a floor general.

"I feel like I handle the ball well. I can create for myself and others off the bounce. Everyone can have all these fancy moves, but I feel I am extremely productive with the moves I have. I was taught one move and go.

I would prefer to be a pure point guard. For my AAU team, we have guards that are smaller than me. So when they get in the game, our coach sometimes wants them to run the point. I feel like a pure point guard, but at the same time I would do whatever to get a win. I love winning!"

Illini Inquirer Top Stories