Iowa State's Donovan Jackson nearing 100 percent health, growing alongside Monte Morris

Guard shot 49.5 percent from 3-point rage at Iowa Western before season-ending injury

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WEST DES MOINES — It was difficult at times for Donovan Jackson to go watch summer league games.

The broken wrist the incoming Iowa State guard suffered at Iowa Western has kept him away from full-contact hoops for seventh months. Since then, he’s tried to make the best of a difficult situation.

Jackson knows he’s almost where he wants to be.

“I’m a real competitor and I like to play, but it’s always good to see the guys play and know how they play,” Jackson said.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior point guard hasn’t been fully out of commission this summer, though. Jackson was cleared to begin shooting in late May and has been integrated into individual drills live scrimmaging with contact as his only restriction.

Pick-up games will have to wait.

“No, I wish (I could play in pick up games),” he said with a chuckle. “(The ISU coaches) monitor everything I do.”

Jackson estimated he’s at 75 percent of his full strength now with late August or early September as the target date to be fully cleared. He has slowly started to get his shooting touch back and competed in the finals of the YMCA Capital City League 3-point contest last Friday.

In his seven months of recovery, only one hold-up has kept Jackson from being completely healthy: his insurance ran out before he enrolled in classes in Ames.

“It’s taken longer because I had to stop doing rehab, but I’m still looking at the same time,” Jackson said. “But if I had kept doing that rehab I probably would have been good right now.”

Once enrolled in classes at Iowa State, Jackson resumed his physical therapy and has attacked his individual drills with the same intensity he tries to bring to the game. The Milwaukee, Wis., native has spent a lot of time alongside his roommate, senior point guard Monte Morris, and they’ve picked each other’s brains on how they can coexist.

With Jackson’s ability to shoot — he shot 50.3 percent from the field and 49.5 percent from 3-point range before his season-ending injury — and Morris’ expressed desire to play off the ball some, the pair have spent a lot of time getting shots up and learning tendencies.

“He’s asked me a lot and trying to learn spots where he can help his game,” Morris said. “I ask him things like what he thinks about me doing this move or what I could have done because he’s watching.

“When a guy’s watching, he’s looking at the game totally different. He’s able to work out, he’s just not able to do contact. Me and him worked out the other day; I think we made 34 3s straight combined. I think the future is bright at Iowa State.”

In a guard-heavy lineup that features Morris, Matt Thomas, Naz Mitrou-Long and Nick Weiler-Babb to name a few, Jackson’s ability to get healthy and handle the ball gives the Cyclones an added dimension to their offense.

“I think I can fit in because we shoot a lot of 3s obviously and I can really shoot the ball,” Jackson said. “That’s going to be one of the areas I can fit in and just flourish with two point guards.”

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