To put a bow on this college basketball season, we’re resurrecting a once-dormant series of ours where we ask each returning Cyclone to “step into our office” to review the season that was, and take a shot at what next season could look like for them.
Next up is soon-to-be senior big man Michael Jacobson, the transfer from Nebraska who generally exceeded all expectations in being a very solid contributor in 2018.
Season at a Glance
Michael Jacobson came to the Cyclones after the 2016-2017 season, transferring in from the University of Nebraska. While he came to Ames from Lincoln, Mike grew up in Waukee, Iowa. Though he was heralded as fringe top 250 player in his class, the Huskers where his only Power 5 offer in high school. After being asked to do nothing but rebound in Tim Miles’ program, Jacobson dramatically expanded his game for the Cyclones this past season.
Michael started every game for the Cyclones this past season, and it did not take long to establish himself as a solid defender, an above average rebounder, and an excellent finisher in the low-post. While Michael faded a bit in the middle part of the season (thanks in part to the return of Cam Lard), Jacobson made the most of his minutes in nearly every game this season.
In just one year in Ames, Jacobson put up much better numbers than he ever did at Nebraska. Mike averaged 6 boards a game to go with 11 points, highlighted by a 0.576 field goal percentage (including 34% from three-point range). Mike also shot the ball pretty well from the free throw line, and nearly averaged one steal per game. Another highlight is definitely his 2.2 offensive boards per game.
At times, however, Mike was a bit inconsistent, and at times strung a few very low scoring outputs between double-figure games. Michael also scored in double figures in 11 of 12 non-conference games, but only reached that mark 7 times in conference play. The positive in all this is that Mike rarely had a poor shooting night, he just didn’t get many attempts or saw minute reductions for various reasons.
2019-2020 Season Outlook
Michael Jacobson earned his starting role time and time again this past season, and I full expect him to be in the starting lineup on a regular basis come November. In addition to his solid play, tough rebounding, and excellent shooting near the hoop, Mike will be called on to be a senior leader for a very young team, a role he shouldered late in the 2018-2019 season.
Iowa State will have the bodies to play big at times moving forward, a fact Steve Prohm has already eluded to. This means pairing Jacobson up with either George Conditt, Solomon Young, or even Zion Griffin.
With those possible lineup combinations on the table, Jacobson’s flexibility becomes key moving forward. While Mike showed good touch near the basket, his low-post defense and defensive rebounding could use a bit of improvement. If he makes strides in these areas, Steve Prohm can use him to man the center position either with Solomon Young or Zion Griffin playing a stretch 4 or a four-guard lineup like we saw this past season.
That being said, most people would expect Steve Prohm to use Jacobson as the stretch 4 when paired with either George Conditt or Solomon Young. While Michael shot a respectable 34% from deep this past season, that number must improve if he is to become a true threat to opposing defenses. Mike also showed the ability to take slower defenders off the dribble, which is something that would make him an absolute dynamic weapon on the perimeter moving forward.
If Michael Jacobson can improve in the aforementioned areas, he will offer Steve Prohm plenty of lineup flexibility moving forward.