July 20, 2015
Stephen Curry, who earned most valuable player honors in the National Basketball Association on the way to leading the Golden State Warriors to the NBA crown, ran a four-on-four cutthroat drill with University of Notre Dame basketball player Demetrius Jackson at Curry's elite camp for point guards in late June.
Despite boasting amazing hoops firepower, Curry and Jackson were on the losing team.
The price of defeat--running the court.
The first one on the line--Stephen Curry.
"Stephen Curry ran with us," said Jackson, one of four college point guards invited to the SC 30 Select Camp run through the Under Armour Association. "I thought that was neat, to see him lace them up and go through all of that with us. He was really involved in the camp. That made it really special."
Curry never took a play off and never took a drill off during his camp at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California.
It was a critical lesson learned first-hand by Jackson, one of many lessons Jackson intends to bring back from the Curry camp to help the Fighting Irish write another brilliant chapter under head coach Mike Brey.
Jackson, a 6-foot-1 point guard who will be a junior, averaged 12.4 points, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals a game in helping the Fighting Irish knock off Miami, North Carolina and eventual national champion Duke on the way to capturing the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
Next season, Jackson is expected to play a vital leadership role as the Irish must replace graduated seniors and NBA draft picks Pat Connaughton and Jerian Grant.
"Being around Stephen Curry for four days . . . just by osmosis you pick up how to handle yourself in a first-class manner, both on and off the court," said Fran Fraschilla, one of the lead instructors at the camp and a former head coach at Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico and current ESPN analyst. "I'm sure Demetrius got a lot out of just watching Steph, how he treats people, how he goes hard in every drill. That had to be an eye-opener. Hopefully that spurs him to what should be a great junior year because I think the sky is the limit for Demetrius."
Jackson joined Seton Hall's Isaiah Whitehead, Maryland's Melo Trimble and Northwestern's Bryant McIntosh at the camp as counselors for 24 of the nation's top high school prospects.
Jackson arrived at the Stephen Curry Camp hoping to hone his leadership skills. He left the camp with a leadership award.
"Demetrius was terrific at teaching the high school guys," Fraschilla said. "Steph would show the drill, the college guys would perform the drill and then they would teach the drill to the high school guys. The opportunity to learn and pass on Steph's knowledge to the high school players had to be invaluable for Demetrius. It forced him not only to think the game, but also to be a leader as well.
"I would call being at Steph's camp for DJ a leadership laboratory for four days. It's like when executives go to the Wharton School of Business for a long weekend to polish up their skills. This was a way for Demetrius to polish up his game at the point-guard position."
Jackson was put into a teaching and leading position by the structure of the camp. Curry modeled teaching and leadership skills for the college players, who then applied their knowledge in teaching and leading the high school players.
"I had a good talk with Demetrius before the camp, and spelled out what we needed him to do," Fraschilla said. "I told him, I know you're going to go hard in these drills. Take these young guys under your wing and be a leader. Treat them like the freshmen you're going to be leading at Notre Dame this year. He embraced that. He was not only impressive with his basketball ability, he was the quickest guy in the camp. His speed and athleticism and quickness were evident, but beyond that his leadership was outstanding. That's what we were looking for out of him."
Jackson said the Stephen Curry Camp was a tremendous experience.
"It was a huge honor for me, to be able to meet not only a great player like Stephen Curry, but a great person like Stephen Curry--and learn from him," Jackson said. "He's a great role model for me, the way he is on and off the court. He's a role model for all basketball players. He went through all of the drills with us. He did a lot of stuff with us. Every time we were at the gym, he was there with us.
"I learned a lot of great drills I'm bringing back develop my skills and keep my game tight. Listening to Stephen Curry, watching him go through his preparation and seeing the different levels of workouts that he does to keep his game tight was really invaluable. I really learned a lot about leadership."
Jackson said he was able to spend some time at the camp talking to Curry, as well as Fraschilla and former NBA coach Doug Collins. He said each one has a great basketball mind and each gave him great advice. Jackson added that he was grateful Curry and the coaches at the camp were so approachable and down to earth.
As Jackson strengthened his leadership skills, he committed to becoming a student of the game.
"One of the big things I noticed about Steph Curry is he's really consistent in everything," Jackson said. "He's consistent with his efforts every day. He had a long season and he could have come in tired, but he was going through all of the drills, just like us, helping us out.
"I think that's one thing I definitely want to improve on, my consistency, not being too high, not being too low--and knowing how to reach everybody in an individual way. Certain guys, I have to talk differently to. I have to be able to reach people in an individual way and be able to talk to the team as a whole."
Fraschilla said he is confident Jackson can achieve that fine balance required of a point guard to distribute the ball to scorers or fill up the net himself.
"Jerian (Grant) proved he could run a team and also score when he had to," Fraschilla said of last season's Irish attack. "I think, not only watching Jerian play the point-guard position but also being around Steph Curry, Demetrius should have the absolutely perfect mindset for coming into his junior year, keeping Notre Dame at a high level and potentially collecting individual honors along with it.
"Demetrius is a gifted player. Now the key is, can he put that young team on his back and be the leader Jerian was? Everything I saw at the Steph Curry Camp makes me think he'll embrace that role effortlessly."
As for Jackson, he believes his approach to the Stephen Curry Camp is the approach the Irish need to take this season.
"I've been told you get out what you put into something," Jackson said. "I think I put a lot into the Steph Curry Camp, so I ended up getting a ton out of this experience. I put in a lot of effort. I think that's a message for our team. If you put in the hard work, the results will follow."