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Basketball

Donovan Jackson doesn’t care about your preseason polls

KANSAS CITY — After winning three of the last four Big 12 Tournaments and going to six straight NCAA Tournaments, Iowa State was picked to finish ninth in the league’s preseason coaches poll that was released last week.

Senior guard Donovan Jackson has never lacked confidence. He backed that up on Tuesday morning at the Big 12’s media day in Kansas City.

“It’s crazy,” Jackson said of the projection. “There is no chance that is going to happen.”

Iowa State has to replace 82 percent of its scoring from last year’s team that graduated program staples like Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas. Jackson, who averaged 6.4 points per game last season with an average of 16.8 minutes of action, said that he has absolutely talked with his teammates about where the league’s coaches see the Cyclones finishing.

“The whole team is being slept on right now,” Jackson said. “I think it’s time for us to wake everybody up. I think we are a tough little group and that’s how we have to be this year.”

It’s funny how different two individuals can be. Enter Nick Weiler-Babb into the conversation. Iowa State’s 6-foot-5 junior guard doesn’t want to talk about it.

“You never want to say that your team is going to finish near the bottom but I don’t really want to talk much,” Weiler-Babb said. “I’m just ready to get on the court and show everybody that we are definitely not going to be at the bottom. It shows more what you do on the court than what you say. That’s all I have to say about it.”

Steve Prohm, a man who admittedly thrives off of being an underdog, said this:

“Substance is a lot better than hype. We are just gonna work. Look at me. I’m probably not supposed to be the head coach at Iowa State. We are doing alright. Does it drive you? Does it make you prepare? It should make you prepare harder or more. If I filled out the ranking I am going to go off of, ‘Iowa State lost six guys. They only bring back so many.’ But nobody has seen Nick play 30 minutes yet. Nobody has seen Solomon play 30 minutes in this role. Nobody has seen Donovan play 30 minutes. We don’t know. We are judging off of statistics. This is a team that is obviously going to get better throughout the season. I’ll talk about it one time and move on.”

NOTEBOOK: “Consistency” is the key word around Iowa State basketball