One year ago Iowa State fans watched as Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas and Deonte Burton played their final game inside Hilton Coliseum. We knew there would be a couple of more games, but for many of us we’d never be able to watch them in person again.
It was arguably one of the most emotional nights many of us Iowa State basketball fans have had inside Hilton Coliseum.
Despite Iowa State’s reputation as “Transfer U”, the four year players were the ones that became ingrained in our hearts. In a society that thrives off instant gratification, there is something rewarding and refreshing about seeing a young player grow both on and off the court during their four years on campus.
There will be no four year seniors in action Tuesday night but that doesn’t mean their contribution to Iowa State Basketball is any less relevant.
Donovan Jackson, Hans Brase and Jeff Beverly will never return to Hilton Coliseum to see their jersey hanging from the rafters. They will never be discussed in the same breath as some of Iowa State’s best ever. They should, however, always be remembered and respected for their decision to call Ames home, if only for a short while.
Tuesday evening will be emotional for Donovan Jackson and his family. His dad, who passed away just days ago, should be there walking him out to mid-court after the game.
Donovan will tell you he is watching from above, but that doesn’t make Tuesday night any easier for the long range threat out of Milwaukee.
Jackson came here with plans of being “the man”. When Monte “Man-Man” Morris returned for his senior season those plans were delayed. Donovan wanted to red-shirt and spend his final two years of eligibility as the focal point of the offense. Prohm, and several others quickly convinced him to accept a smaller role in the hopes of creating a special season.
Winning in the Phog. Big 12 Tournament Champions. NCAA Tournament Win.
Jackson was at the center of it all, hitting one of the most iconic shots in Iowa State basketball history.
Many Cyclone fans will tell you a third Big 12 Tournament Championship in four years doesn’t happen without Donovan Jackson’s play off the bench. They are probably right.
Tuesday evening was supposed to be the last game of his first run in Ames. Instead it will be his last. When Donovan Jackson put his team in front of himself Iowa State was able to accomplish things that wouldn’t have been possible.
Thank you, Donovan Jackson
Hans Brase committed to Iowa State after graduating from Princeton. While we know he certainly didn’t come here for the academics, we also know he didn’t anticipate a season riddled with injury.
During the off-season Prohm couldn’t stop gushing about Brase’s ability to lead and his importance to the team. Iowa State fans were certainly expecting a lot out of the big man, but I can assure you Prohm and Brase were expecting even more.
His impact on this program won’t show up in the record books and it has barely registered in the box scores. That doesn’t mean Hans has not been important for this program moving forward.
With minutes restricted and his lack of production apparent, the forward out of South Carolina could have sulked to himself on the bench. Instead the senior has been one of the most animated and engaged members of the team, most notably with his token “three pointer sleeve”.
We’ll never know how much impact the practice and work habits of Brase had on a young guy like Cameron Lard or Solomon Young. My guess is they were quite profound. Without much of a dog in the fight Brase had every reason to check out of a season that didn’t bring much winning. Instead, all the kid did was lead by example and help set the standard for the program moving forward.
Thank you, Hans Brase
Jeff Beverly, the “mid-range assassin” has been of the biggest targets of Cyclone Twitter this season. After starting for the first half of the year, it quickly became apparent he was merely a placeholder for Cameron Lard’s spot in the starting five.
Persistence was his strength and it finally paid off when he connected on his first three pointer on December 16th against Northern Iowa. It continued to provide dividends when he tallied a season-high 11 point against the Mountaineers.
It is easy for fans to believe players should accept the role the coach has in mind without complaint. I’d argue you don’t become Division I basketball player without believing you are one of the best options on the court.
Due to injuries and roster hamstrung with transfer sitting out Jeff Beverly will get the start once again inside Hilton Coliseum just like he did in their home opener against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
He will probably connect on a couple of baseline jump shots and if destiny will have it, go perfect from behind the arc. The fans will cheer, the bench will rejoice, and fans will remember that once someone is a Cyclone, they are always a Cyclone.
Thank you, Jeff Beverly.
Next season can’t get here soon enough for a large majority of the fan base. Don’t tell that to this group of seniors who will some day take off their sneakers, only to never put them on again.
Older parents will often give advice to new parents. It usually goes something like “don’t blink, it goes so fast”. The nights are seemingly never ending, but the years move at the speed of light.
Take time to enjoy the underclassmen as well Tuesday night. They won’t be here forever and a penchant for looking into the future will undoubtedly create regret down the road for not enjoying the present.
Even in a season that has tested the mettle of the Hilton faithful, senior night is still one of the best nights of the year.
Cyclone fans, get on your feet, clap your hands and scream loud for those whose presence is felt, but voice we can no longer hear.
Iowa State- 76 Oklahoma State- 68
Game Time: Tuesday, February 27th, 6 PM
Line: Oklahoma State (-1.5) O/U (152.5)