Markese Jacobs signs with DePaul: ‘It is okay to stay home’

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With his mom Appolonia Stover at his side, Uplift basketball player Markese Jacobs signs his letter of intent to play for DePaul. Mark Black/For the Sun-Times.

Markese Jacobs committed to Kansas when he was just a sophomore. This summer he was the star of a Nike commercial. That’s some high-profile stuff. Players of that caliber don’t usually wind up at DePaul.

But the Uplift senior signed with the Blue Demons on Wednesday. Jacobs knows what the perception is around DePaul and he addressed it right at the beginning of his prepared remarks at his signing day ceremony:

“So, everyone is like ‘Why DePaul?’ I say why not DePaul. Life is about opportunities and being prepared for them when they come. When I reopened my recruitment nobody showed me more love than DePaul. I’m from Chicago where nothing is handed to you. You have to work for everything, so this day is very special to me and my family. It is okay to stay home.”

Jacobs is a tremendous athlete, the top player in the area in the class of 2019. He’s a good student and a thoughtful kid that clearly isn’t afraid to pave his own path.

“I’m a big dreamer,” Jacobs said. “If everyone isn’t rocking with my decision now, they are eventually going to be rocking with it. We are going to do some big things.”

Jacobs, a 5-11 guard, joins Michigan native Romeo Weems and and California guard Oscar Lopez in DePaul’s recruiting class. It’s an excellent haul for the Blue Demons.

“My relationship with [DePaul coach Dave Leitao] is what I was really looking for throughout the recruiting process,” Jacobs said. “My whole thing was to find a head coach that loves my game and trusts me. That is Coach Leitao. He loves my game and wants to work on it with me.”

Jacobs committed to Kansas in October 2016. They mutually parted ways in late August. Decommitting from a college basketball blue blood is a rough situation for a teenager.

“Man, it has been stressful,” Jacobs said. “I never knew the recruiting process would be this difficult. [Signing] takes some stress off my shoulders. It’s nice to be comfortable at a place where I know I can showcase my talent.

“This is my hometown, so I had always heard about DePaul and everyone has their own opinions on it. But after going and seeing it for myself it just felt like the right fit.”

Uplift lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Orr in the Class 2A sectionals last season. The Titans should be one of the better teams in the city this season and are a definite threat to win the Class 2A state title. Taylor has had several good teams at Uplift, but a star player like Jacobs making headlines at DePaul would be a definite boon for his program.

“The fact that he spent four years as a starter here and not just a player and then moved to the big college down the road will help us when families are choosing a high school,” Taylor said. “It may make them feel a little better about Uplift and what goes on here. Especially if their son plays basketball.”

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