Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State's Donovan Jackson shows strength in emotional game

Senior guard scores 27 points in loss to TCU, days after losing father

Iowa State’s Donovan Jackson defends TCU’s Desmond Bane Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. (Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa State’s Donovan Jackson defends TCU’s Desmond Bane Wednesday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. (Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports)

AMES — Iowa State guard Donovan Jackson’s father, Don, always told him to attack the basket and get to the free-throw line.

Jackson has made his name at Iowa State as a 3-point marksman — in just two seasons, he ranks 11th on Iowa State’s career 3-point shooting list with 131.

On Wednesday against TCU, Jackson got to the free-throw line 10 times, making nine. The 10 attempts were a season-high, four days after Don Jackson died.

“I just knew that he would want me to come out here and compete,” Jackson said. “I know he’s happy about (me getting to the free-throw line).”

Jackson had 27 points and seven assists, but his effort wasn’t quite enough for a short-handed Iowa State team (13-14, 4-11 Big 12) to beat TCU (19-9, 7-8 Big 12) at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones lost 89-83.

Jackson scored 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line in the first half to lead all scorers. He cooled off a little bit in the second half, but Jackson laid it all out on the line.

Not every shot Jackson took was a good one. The energy and emotion he played with was palpable, but sometimes emotions took over and he would force a bad shot.


At the 15-minute mark in the first half, Jackson took an ill-advised 3-pointer. Immediately after the shot, he went over and embraced his coach, Steve Prohm.

“I was just trying to get him at peace a little bit,” Prohm said. “He took a tough shot and he knew it and when he looked at me he was kind of saying, ‘Hey, that’s on me, that’s a tough shot. That’s a bad shot.’

“He made eye contact and came over and I did what any coach would probably do in that situation. You love your guys and you love your kids on good days and on bad days — and on the tough days you really have to love them.”

Prohm wants his team to continue supporting Jackson.

Jackson showed a great deal of strength playing Wednesday, let alone having the night he did. But in the postgame press conference, he broke down when he was asked how different of a night this was for him.

“It was really different because I know he’s watching from up above. I know he’s not going to call me,” Jackson said with tears starting to well.

He had trouble finishing the sentence and when he did, he dropped his head and the tears started streaming down his face. Prohm immediately wrapped him in a hug and comforted him.

Iowa State sports information asked the group of reporters if there were questions for Zoran Talley, the other player at the press conference.

“No, I gotta battle,” Jackson responded with tears still in his eyes and head hanging low.


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“I know he’s not going to call me,” Jackson said as he raised his head in a show of impressive strength. “I have to do everything he used to tell me I had to do. I’m trying to do that.”

Yes, Iowa State lost to TCU on Wednesday, but the strength Jackson showed deserves all the attention it’s going to get.

“Donovan is a 22-year-old senior with the whole world in front of him and he’d probably give everything in the world to have another conversation with his father,” Prohm said. “I can’t even imagine what it’s like or what it would take. I’m proud of him for coming back and competing. He did some really good things and I know his dad is proud.

“Donovan’s going to do great things. He has a great personality and a great spirit about him.”

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