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Freshman guard looks to follow in father's legendary footsteps

On December 5, 2017

BY OLANZO PALMER

VN STAFF WRITER

Jermaine Jackson is a legend among the Detroit Titan basketball players.

The former league player of the year helped guide the team to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in the late 1990s before graduating in 1999. He played alongside stars like Rashad Phillips and Bacari Alexander on some memorable teams.

Now his son, Jermaine Jackson Jr., is trying to do the same. And he’ll have a good mentor; his father has been an assistant coach since June 2015 and is currently the acting head coach amid the unexplained absence of Alexander, the team’s head coach.

Playing for your father can be a challenge. But Jackson is handling it in stride.

“It’s fun,” he told The Varsity News. “Having someone who is close to you be your coach makes you feel very comfortable. I know that he has my back at all times.”

Detroit Mercy isn’t new to father-son duos. Ray McCallum Sr. and Jr. led the university to a Horizon League tournament championship and its last NCAA tournament appearance in 2012. The following year, they led the team to an NIT bid before the younger McCallum left and was drafted into the NBA.

Jackson is hoping to replicate that success.

“I feel very confident in my team and the coaching staff that we have that we can make it to the NCAA tournament,” he said.

So far this season, Jackson is averaging 12.8 points and 4.5 assists per game.

Aside playing for his father, he said he chose UDM because he felt like he fit with the team’s system.

“Our playing style fits my game and will help me improve and be a better player,” he said. “The group of guys we have are very talented and great teammates. I want to win and everyone in the program has the same mindset. Being close to home wasn’t so bad either.”

While any comparisons to UDM’s last father-son duo may be unfair this early in his career, Jackson says he has the same ambitions as McCallum Jr.: make it to the NBA.

“Like most kids in college basketball I want to go to the NBA,” he said. “My plan B is to make plan A work, so I work extremely hard every day to become successful.”

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