Eastern Michigan Extends Offer to Eighth-grader Jermaine Jackson Jr. |
In the past week, UCLA made an offer to an eighth-grade quarterback, and Kentucky extended an offer to a seventh-grade cornerback. In this day and age, with the allure, competition and big money of college sports - it seems like it's never too early to find, evaluate and offer a young athelete. Even if they have never stepped foot in a high school.
In our own backyard, Mt.Clemens 2017 point guard Jermaine Jackson Jr. was offered by Eastern Michigan on Friday. Jackson is only an eighth-grader, but already is a stand out athlete, playing beyond his years. Jackson averaged over 25 ppg. last season in AAU with the Michigan Hurricanes. He's lightning quick and electric with the ball in his hands. As a point guard he has demonstrated the ability to distribute and create for others, but he is also adept at getting his own opportunities.
"I was in the van on our way home from the camp when they offered me," Jackson said. "I was kind of surprised, because I'm only in the eighth-grade, but I felt it was coming. The coaches just told me how good of a player I was and that they wanted to offer me, and for me to verbally commit," added Jackson.
Jackson is only 5-5, 135-pounds, but there is a strong basketball pedigree in his bloodline. His father, Jermaine Jackson Sr., played professionally in the NBA as well as overseas. Jackson Jr., hoping to follow in his father's footsteps, will play his high school ball at Mt.Clemens High where his dad is the head coach. The Battling Bathers went 21-2 last season, making it all the way to Class C state regionals.
"My dad has a major influence on my life," Jackson said. "He's been training me since I was three years old, and I know everything he's taught me will make me better. I'm not really feeling any pressure to follow in his footsteps, but I do want to do what he did, and be better."
Several other schools have also been in contact with the young phenom, including Toledo, Louisville, and Detroit Mercy, his father's alma mater. Despite not having played a high school game, Jackson still excels against bigger, and older competition. He was a top performer at the Michigan Collegiate Practice Camp earlier this month.
"I've been playing summer league basketball with varsity players, so that helps me a lot," said Jackson. "When I play against guys in my age group I'm way ahead of them, and it's not as competitive." Jackson also trains with the best, preparing him for the grind of being an elite high school basketball player. He workouts at The B-Fit in Mt.Clemens with trainer Justin Brantley, and Michigan 2013 signee Derrick Walton. For Jackson Jr, having older mentors is a big plus.
"Justin does everything," he said." He tells me how to get in better shape, and asks me what I need to work on. I never get tired on the court, and that's all from Justin. Derrick (Walton) pushes me every time we work out together. I want to get to where he's at one day, ranked nationally, and he's been like a big brother to me."
Only the future knows what's in store for Jackson, but not many middle schoolers hold college offers. Some people question whether kids his age should even hold offers, but Jackson is surrounded by a great support system. It'll be exciting to see if he and his dad can lead Mt.Clemens basketball to a state title in the near future.Tweet