The deadlift one of the best overall exercises you can do. You can use it to build muscle, strength, explosiveness, or even burn fat. It recruits virtually every muscle in the body. However for vertical jump training it is best used for either maximum strength or for explosiveness.
There plenty of things to remember with the deadlift and there are also a number of excellent articles around. However for those interested in keeping things simple (and really how hard should it be to pick up a bar? Er, harder than you think actually!) here are the key points:
Some good alternatives to barbell deadlifts are
Sumo Deadlift - similar to the regular deadlift but hands are placed inside the knees. This is easier on the spine than regular barbell deadlifts.
The barbell deadlift is no doubt a great strength builder and vertical jump exercise but to learn the FASTEST ways to jump higher yo need to check out Game Changers. The methods described in that book produce results that far exceed any other vertical jump training exercises.