Before you pin Michael Jacobson’s mug to your Tim Miles crazy wall and start digging for more string, there are two things the former Nebraska Cornhuskers forward wants to make clear, right out of the chute.
1. This was never an “Andrew White” kind of deal.
“I don’t think my reasons were the same as Andrew’s,” Jacobson told Land of 10 when asked about his spring transfer from the Huskers to Iowa State. “I didn’t have any issues with Coach [Miles].”
Guard Andrew White III bolted Lincoln for Syracuse last summer on the heels of what was reportedly a contentious meeting with Miles.
“I just felt for me, personally, it just wasn’t the right fit,” Jacobson continued. “And I felt maybe somewhere else [I] would’ve been happier. And you know, that’s what I’m going to do. At the end of the day, that’s the decision I made.”
2. There was no collusion with former teammate Ed Morrow Jr., now at Marquette, another spring transfer.
Source tells the Journal Star that style of play and Ed Morrow’s decision to transfer played a role in Jacobson’s decision. #Huskers
— Chris Basnett (@HuskerExtraCB) April 10, 2017
“No, I totally get that from the outside, that that would be the perception,” Jacobson said.
“I didn’t know Ed was going to go until he went and did it. Then it was going around our locker room. I had not made my decision yet; I was obviously contemplating, trying to think. I actually had no prior knowledge of him doing his thing.
“I guess, [it’s] weird timing and coincidence. I guess it just worked that way.”
And, heck, while we’re up, one more thing:
3. Miles wasn’t … thrilled.
“Yeah, obviously, he wasn’t happy,” Jacobson recalled. “It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, see ya, guy.’
“He was, ‘OK, is there anything we can do? Is there any way we can change your mind? Can we talk about anything?’ All that type of stuff.
“He handled it well. I would just say it was kind of one of those things where I had already made my mind up. There wasn’t anything that could be done, should’ve been done.”
That said, he gets it. Transfers happen, like stars falling from the sky. That said, watching 65.9 percent of your returning rebounds skedaddle in one gulp is like waking up to find a space rock smoldering in the back of your Tahoe.
Jacobson, a 6-foot-9 native of Waukee, Iowa, is the Big Red’s fourth transfer since the end of the season, joining sophomore forward Morrow (9.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg), freshman forward Jeriah Horne (4.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and redshirt junior guard Nick Fuller (1.1 ppg, 1.1 rpg). Seven scholarship players have left over the last two years.
Thus, the crazy wall. The push pins. The string. The palpable agitation.
One or two transfers are ok, seems to be the norm these days. Four players, two that played significant roles is a sign of dysfunction. pic.twitter.com/6okuaETcUl
— Jeff Russell (@jeffrussellmr59) April 10, 2017
“Yeah, I totally understand that why, from the outside, that’s how it looks,” said Jacobson, who averaged 6.0 points and 6.2 boards per game as a sophomore and appeared in 65 games the past two seasons.
“Nobody really knows except for the guys in that locker room what’s going on or isn’t going on.
“I never had any problems with coach [Miles] or anything with Nebraska. I seriously thank them for the opportunity they gave me — [they] obviously gave me a chance to play right away. I have no ill will toward them.”
As to whether those feelings have been reciprocated, well …
“It’s been mixed,” Jacobson replied. “But I’d say definitely the majority of it has been positive. ‘Hey, thanks for your two years of hard work and thanks for being here, best of luck in the future.’ They’ve been very gracious.
“Most of them have been respectful. There’ve been a few that [were] taking shots. Nothing crazy. Nothing that you wouldn’t expect.”
“I never had any problems with coach [Miles] or anything with Nebraska.”
— former Cornhuskers forward Michael Jacobson, now at Iowa State
The wheels on the Cyclones chapter start turning in earnest Monday, when Jacobson meets in Ames — 51 miles north of his old high school — with academic counselors and gears up for summer classes. Iowa State ultimately won out over Davidson, Colorado, Wichita State and Clemson as the right mix of quality, chemistry, legacy — his grandfather played football for the Cardinal and Gold — and proximity.
“I went on vacation for a little bit and then I got back and just kind of thought about things,” Jacobson said. “This is where I feel like I want to go, and this is where I feel I’m going to end up. Is it worth visiting these other places, coming to the same conclusion and just wasting everybody’s time?’”
The Cyclones, to Jacobson’s mind, offered a more stable basketball brand and a proven hoops pedigree — six straight NCAA Tournament appearances and two Sweet 16s since 2011, under the auspices of two different coaches. Once Iowa State assistant coach William Small reached out, the dots started to connect.
“With it being close to home, and all the success they’ve had,” the ex-Huskers forward said, “I felt it was pretty much the perfect situation.”
Jacobson actually had entertained a scholarship offer from Iowa State before, only it was about three years earlier, and it was for football, via then-coach Paul Rhoads.
“Everyone I’ve talked to said sitting out really is the worst part,” said Jacobson said. “I’m excited. I think I could work on tons of stuff in my game. I know it’s going to be tough … I’m pretty excited for it. I think it could do a lot more for me. Obviously, I’m going to champing at the bit to get back when next fall comes.”
Until then, no looking back. No what-ifs. No regrets. No strings.
Immediately after the season ended at the Big Ten tourney in Washington, D.C. on March 8, Jacobson told reporters he was glad to hear Miles had received a vote of confidence from athletic director Shawn Eichorst.
On April 10, the big man was officially gone.
What changed in five weeks?
“I guess I kind of took some time to decompress from the long season, reassess what my goals were. ‘What am I trying to do and what am I trying to get out of this?’” Jacobson explained. “I guess I thought long and hard about this for a month.
“And [also] I talked to some other people, my parents and just kind of took everybody’s opinion and kind of used that and kind of came up with my own [decision], came up with what was best for me at the time. And that was the decision I came to.”