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Dante Jackson returns to lead

By sabrina Brown
On October 31, 2012

There's a myth in basketball which states that players who can't play, coach. For beloved Xavier basketball alum Dante Jackson, the newest graduate assistant coach for the Musketeers, this myth is anything but true.
While he was a player at Xavier, Jackson was a fan favorite and leader of a team that saw Atlantic 10 titles and Sweet 16 and Elite Eight appearances. He was honored
to learn from Xavier greats such as Stanley Burrell, Derrick Brown and Drew Lavender, and he was a mentor for those who came after him. Now, Jackson is eager to again have the opportunity
to shape young minds at Xavier.
"I love helping people. As a coach, I think you get to help young men and young women achieve greatness," Jackson said.
Before returning to Xavier, Jackson was a graduate assistant at Ohio University and helped lead the team to its first Sweet 16 appearance
in recent years. He was all set and happy to stay at Ohio, until he received the opportunity of his dreams.
"I love Xavier. I love Coach Mack and the staff. Coming back here was like a dream come true. Xavier's the best, in every category,"
Jackson said. "The culture that is Xavier is mind, body and spirit. When you're here, you kind of take those things for granted."
But Jackson is not a person who takes things for granted. Starting at Xavier as a freshman, Jackson didn't understand
what it meant to be held accountable, to have people relying
on you day in and day out.
"Xavier is bigger than me. It's bigger than a lot of different
people, but as a player,
I felt like I owed it to the fans, my family, my teammates and my coaches to give great effort every
day and to represent Xavier in the way Xavier's supposed to be represented," Jackson said. "As a coach, it's kind of the same thing. Coach Mack could have hired anybody as his second GA, but he trusted in me that I would come back and bring that sense of energy,
respect for Xavier and knowledge
of the program."
In addition to his responsibilities
as a coach, Jackson has a strong sense of responsibility to his family, but for Jackson, it doesn't seem like much of a responsibility
at all.
"I have a daughter that turned two in August, so any time I get to take her to the park and just spend time with her is great," Jackson said.
In adding Jackson to this year's staff, head coach Chris Mack has added so much more than a graduate assistant that loves the game; he's added a man that believes in Xavier and believes in the young men on this season's team.
"Some people would say that losing everything we've lost and going through everything we've gone through that the bar's going to drop. That's not the case here. The bar will never drop. It's not a coach's job to lower the standard because that's not who Xavier is," Jackson said. "We've got banners hanging in the Cintas Center that say 'Elite 8,' that say 'Sweet 16,' that say 'A-10 Champions.' That's the bar, and every one of our guys in the locker room understands that."
Jackson's a breath of fresh air for a Xavier team that has seemed at times to be drowning. He isn't worried about where this team's been, just where they're going, and with Jackson helping lead, where they're going is sure to be bright.


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