How basketball saved Demetrius Jackson’s Life

From bullied foster child to big man on court

While Demetrius Jackson didn’t start out with any specific dreams in mind, he told himself that he wasn’t goping to grow up to be another statistic.
It was on the basketball court that Jackson would find himself – dribbling, driving, and getting the ball through that hoop. To him, every shot is something he considers precious, probably because it was all he ever had whenever he felt lost.
He, along with his four other siblings, was taken away from their mother when he was 12. From then on, he moved from one foster home to another, only finding solace on the court. For Jackson, home was wherever he could shoot.

“When I was upset, when I was angry, any different type of emotion, I could always just go to the court and shoot, and it would be OK,” Jackson said in an interview with Bleacher Report. “It was on the court that I could definitely be myself, be comfortable.”

Everything changed when Jackson met Michael Whitfield at the AAU in Midwest Basketball Academy. Before long, Whitfield was asking his parents if they could take in the young Jackson to help him get away from the relentless bullying of the other foster children. Today, Jackson considers the Whitfields his saviors. In the years that followed, in the Whitfield’s family backyard, Demetrius and Michael, along with their friends, would practice teir game, playing with a makeshift hoop set up by Michael’s parents.
It would AAU coach and owner of the Midwest Basketball Academy Rod Creech who drove Jackson to Akron for a LeBron James camp. Creech said that it was on that trip that he knew Jackson was going to be something.

“I called my wife, and she said, ‘What is wrong?’ And I said, ‘This dude is going to be special.’ That was the moment my wife and I said, ‘You know what? We’re going to do whatever we can to mentor this kid.'”

True enough, in February 2016, he became one of the 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. At the end of his junior season in Notre Dame, Jackson decided to enter the 2016 NBA Draft where he is projected to be in the Top 20.

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