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Demetrius Jackson has worked for everything he has his entire life. Being named to the McDonald’s All American Game reaffirmed to him that hard work pays off.

“I started playing basketball in the fifth grade,” Jackson, who has committed to play at Notre Dame next season, said. “It was the first time I ever played organized
basketball. I wasn’t very good. I didn’t want to be a loser. I didn’t want to lose anymore.

“In my childhood, I was growing up on the losing end. I worked harder to be a better all-around player. A lot of blood, sweat and tears. Still put forth that same effort today.”

Through basketball, Jackson met the Whitfields — a family that eventually took him in as their foster son.

“Basketball has done great things for me in my life,” Jackson said. “Really, without meeting the Whitfields through basketball, I wouldn’t know where I would be
today.”

Where he is today is taking part in an event that will feature the best high school basketball players in the country.

In addition to the game on April 3 at the United Center, Jackson won the Skills Contest on Monday at University of Chicago.

Jackson said Notre Dame was an easy choice for him because of the parallels to his high school.

“I go to a Catholic high school,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t the best of kids. I got into trouble and I really needed to find God. Going to Marian [High School in Mishawaka, Ind.] really helped me connect with God. Not only am I getting a great experience academically and athletically [at Notre Dame], but I get to continue building my relationship with God.”

Choosing Notre Dame means Jackson will also remain close to home.

“It’s going to be great,” Jackson said. Just being able to stay home and do good things for the community is a real blessing. My biological family and foster family being able to come out and support me means a lot.”

Jackson said he has read that people compare him to Derrick Rose, but he is just trying to add as many different elements to his game as possible.

“A couple of things I read said that I’m similar to D Rose with the explosiveness,” Jackson said. “I’m a student of the game. Have watched countless amounts of videos and NBA games. When I see something and it looks like it might work, I’m in the gym or my backyard trying to work on it and add it to my repertoire.

McDonald’s recently released their greatest All Americans list, and, like the game itself, Jackson was studying it.

“I was on the website looking at all the best McDonald’s All Americans,” Jackson said. “I’m a LeBron fan. I’m a fan of all of them. Just wow. Just to have my name on a list with those guys is an honor.”

Retweet a McDonald’s All-American story from the Official Season Pass Twitter handle, @season_pass for a chance to win two premium seats to the games.

In the coming days, Season Pass will feature student-athletes and coaches with local ties that will be participating in the McDonald’s All-American Games.

For the latest updates on the McDonald’s All-American Game, follow @McDAAG on Twitter.

Retweet a McDonald's All-American story from the Official Season Pass Twitter handle for a chance to win two premium seats to the games.

Retweet a McDonald's All-American story from the Official Season Pass Twitter handle for a chance to win two premium seats to the games.

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