Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 21, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Good First Impression Freshman Demetrius Jackson highlights open practice N By Andrew Owens otre Dame held an open practice for members of the media Oct. 1 after beginning fall practice Sept. 27, and one player made an exceptional impression during the session — freshman guard Demetrius Jackson. The energy and defensive ability of the 6-1, 195-pound guard stood out as the clearest difference between the 2013-14 Irish and the version last seen in March. The local product out of Mishawaka (Ind.) Marian High School impressed as an on-ball defender in several practice drills. Senior point guard Eric Atkins even went as far as calling Jackson the best defender he has faced since his own freshman year, when he went up against former Notre Dame guard Ben Hansbrough on a daily basis in practice. "Working with him all summer, he really just wants to get better every day," Atkins said. "He's a gritty de- fender and gets after it on the defensive side of the ball, and offensively, he can really create his own shot, hits the hole at will. I think he will be somebody who helps [senior guard Jerian Grant] and I and handle some of the dribbling responsibilities. I just think it's a big boost for our team." Jackson demonstrated his abilities frequently during the two-hour session, regardless of which player he faced. Atkins said he thinks the early practice season — the NCAA implemented an accelerated calendar this year that allowed teams to begin practice Sept. 27 instead of the typical Oct. 15 start date — has benefited Jackson during the early stages of his Irish career. "With the NCAA rule, I think it's great for our young guys to get going and just work with us, how we play and getting up and down with us and getting in the rhythm of college basketball," Atkins said. "You gain a little more confidence because you have more time to practice with the team

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