BOYS BASKETBALL

Bloom Twp. guard Zerell Jackson loves his role in a storied program

2014-01-16T18:00:00Z 2014-01-17T01:43:09Z Bloom Twp. guard Zerell Jackson loves his role in a storied programMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
January 16, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

He and his teammates have heard repeated stories about the legends.

They can see the names on the upper part of the east wall of M'Cann Gym, which houses Wes Mason Court. Zerell Jackson knows putting on the blue and gold signifies that you are a blue blood of basketball.

Jackson, a three-year starter at guard, has heard the names Audie Matthews, Ray McCoy, Brandon Cole and others. He also knows the role of being a Blazing Trojan.

"Bloom has always taken pride in it program," Jackson said. "You learn that from when you are growing up playing basketball and watching those guys play. You want to be one of those guys one day."

Jackson, a Bloom Trail student, had the chance to talk with McCoy a few years ago. And he listened.

McCoy and Isiah Thomas were the top two prep guards in the country in 1979. McCoy went to the University of San Francisco, then a power, before transferring to DePaul.

"He told me a lot about playing the position, but more importantly, how to be a good player," Jackson said. "He talked about never letting my teammates down, play smart and never point fingers.

"It is how to be a leader."

Jackson has been that. He was a sophomore starter on the 2012 team which finished fourth in Class 4A.

"I have always been lucky that I have had good players around me," Jackson said. "As a sophomore, it was challenging, but when you have good coaches and good players, that makes it easier."

Jackson likes to distribute the ball and that is one of his qualities, said first-year coach Ron Ashlaw.

"Zeke is not afraid to shoot, but he knows he sets the table for everyone else," Ashlaw said. "He is unselfish and that is what makes a team a team."

Said Jackson: "We have some guys who can score like Jarde (Johnson), James Coleman and Mickhiell (Harris). I am not afraid to shoot if the shot is there, but if other guys are open and have better looks (at the basket), I go to them."

Jackson also said experience has made him better.

"You learn as you go along," Jackson said. "With our schedule, you learn fast when you play top competition."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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