Sometimes in life, things happen to you that you don't understand. That frankly, you can’t understand, and can't do anything about. That's what happened to Demetrius Jackson.
This is a story of kindness, of sadness and hope. And how basketball brought a family together.
With just five more points, Demetrius will set Marian High School's single-season scoring record, as a sophomore. David and Beth Whitfield will be there when it happens.
"Dave's always been willing to help, and Beth, they're always willing to help in any situation they can,” Marian coach Robb Berger said. “I think they need to be applauded for what they can and are doing for a young man."
To know Demetrius Jackson now, you need to know where he was four years ago, when at the age of 12, he was placed in foster care.
"It was kind of like, you don't really have a choice,” Demetrius said. “And so it was just kind of unexpected."
He would rather not talk about the circumstances that landed him in foster care. But suffice it to say, it hurt.
"I was scared,” Demetrius said. “I was crying, and it's just like, you know, it wasn't comfortable knowing I couldn't see my mother anymore."
His trials were just beginning. Demetrius was moved from a foster home in South Bend to a different one in Elkhart. Neither was a happy place.
"It's hard to balance out all your emotions,” he said. “Especially when you're unhappy."
He found comfort and peace in one place: Basketball.
"I'll go shoot hoops or whatever when I'm upset,” Demetrius said. “And it always seemed to calm me down."
In seventh grade, Demetrius met Michael Whitfield, when the two were placed on the same AAU basketball team. They quickly became very close.
"When I'd get in trouble or I was crying, upset, and I'd always call Michael," Demetrius said.
"I kind of thought of him more as like a family member than a friend,” Michael said. “Like, I would do more for him than I would for any other of my friends."
"He always had time to talk to me,” Demetrius said. “I always just need someone to share my feelings with. I never really had that until I met Michael."
And during those conversations, Michael was moved to action.
"Michael actually came to us,” said Beth Whitfield, Michael’s mother, “and said, ‘what do you think about Demetrius coming to live with us?'"
David and Beth Whitfield have been married for 20 years, and have five children of their own. But when they thought about Demetrius, they knew what they had to do.
"Having a lot of kids of our own, realizing that they are given the opportunities that they are, it meant a lot to us to be able to give Demetrius opportunities that he wasn't going to be able to have if he wouldn't come live with us," Beth said.