Dakota’s Jackson, Ballantyne heading to Detroit Mercy

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Macomb — Detroit Mercy coach Bacari Alexander cashed in on a decade-long relationship with Macomb Dakota star guard Jermaine Jackson and forward Jack Ballantyne on Monday.

Jackson and Ballantyne – teammates for years with The Family in AAU ball – became high school teammates this past winter after Ballantyne (6-foot-9, 240 pounds) transferred from Warren De La Salle.

Jackson, a 5-foot-10 point guard, averaged 26 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals to earn a spot on The News' Class A all-state first-team.

Ballantyne averaged a double-double (15 points, 13 rebounds) to help Dakota repeat as Macomb Area Conference Red Division champions and earn a district title before a regional semifinal loss to eventual state champion Clarkston.

Jackson helped Dakota reach the state semifinals his junior year and had never lost a game to a Macomb County team during his three years as a starter.

Jackson’s father, Jermaine, is an assistant coach with the Titans and a former teammate of Alexander when the Titans competed in the NCAA Tournament in the late 1990s.

“We talked to each other, talked about Bacari Alexander, who is the head coach and big part of our situation, and we just came together about a week ago and we all decided that we were going to sign with the University of Detroit Mercy," Jackson said. "It was the best decision for us and we’re proud of our decision.

“My dad being there is a big part. He’s my dad most importantly and other than a coach I know what he’s going to bring to the table. He didn’t force me to go here. It was my choice and the best choice for me.”

The Titans were 8-23 (6-12 in the Horizon League) in Alexander’s first season as coach with true freshman guard Corey Allen (Ypsilanti) averaging 14.4 points in 31.4 minutes

Jackson had other offers from Colorado, Duquesne and Oakland. Ballantyne had offers from Boston College, Duquesne, Oakland and Toledo.

“I was offered back when Ray McCallum was head coach. Obviously things happened with him getting fired and Coach Bacari took over and me and J (Jackson) had a really good relationship with Coach Bacari when he was at Michigan (as assistant coach) and that was a huge part of it for both of us,” Ballantyne said.

“He’s known both of us since we were about 7 or 8 years old. We really established a good relationship and obviously on our visit he set up a situation where he talked about our freshman year, our sophomore year, minutes, living places and things like that, so we talked and thought it was a good idea.”

Earlier Monday, Detroit Mercy announced the addition of fifth-year transfer Roschon Prince from Long Beach State. It will be the third Division 1 college Prince has played for. He started his career at USC.

Prince, a 6-6 forward, earned All-Big West honorable mention honors after averaging 9.4 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds this past season.


twitter: @DavidGoricki

Macomb Dakota’s Jack Ballantyne, left, and Jermaine Jackson Jr. sign their letters of intent Monday to play basketball at the University of Detroit Mercy. The two signed during a news conference at Macomb Dakota High School.