Take a glance at Nebraska’s roster for the upcoming season and it’s hard not to have your eyes drawn to the height column. That s because while it’s unclear how much talent the Huskers currently have, it is clear that they aren’t a very tall team. Ready for an obvious statement? Size matters in basketball and the fact of the matter is the Huskers don’t have a ton of it. However, they do have a few younger players with a bit of height who might be needed sooner rather than later. One of those guys is 6’8" freshmen power forward Michael Jacobson.
Jacobson, a recruit out of Iowa, is one of three new freshmen forwards on the Huskers. While celebrated 4-star player Ed Morrow is expected to make a bigger contribution this season, Jacobson could always earn minutes off the bench in 2015-16 before taking on a larger role next season. Let's take a look at him.
While some power forwards enter college touted as stretch-fours or low-post bangers, Jacobson is a jack-of-all trades player who brings a versatile skill set to the Huskers. At 222 pounds, Jacobson has enough bulk already to battle for rebounds, but more important than his size is his willingness to use it. Jacobson is a competitive kid and he's a player who's willing to box out and do the necessary dirty work.
On the offensive end, Jacobson brings a diverse skill set that makes him a threat from multiple spots on the court. Although he doesn't look especially athletic, the forward is quick enough to get the rim and has enough moves to get past defenders when he has to. And while he isn't a prototype stretch-four, Jacobson is a very good jump shooter who can space the floor and keep a defense honest. According to the article from the Lincoln Journal Star, Jacobson's high school coaches expect him to become an even better shooter now that he's focusing solely on basketball (he was also a star tight end in high school).
Here's a look at some of his highlights:
As impressive as some of those plays are, Jacobson's intangibles are what really set him apart. A 4.0 student in high school, Jacobson has already declared a business major and plans to go into medicine. While a player's major doesn't have anything to do with how good he is at basketball, Jacobson is a smart, focused player with a great attitude. That can benefit any team.
Areas for Improvement
Like most big men his age, Jacobson needs to develop his post game. He also needs to continue to work on his strength and shooting, which are both good but could be improved. Bottom line, Jacobson is a solid prospect who will just need some time to adjust before he can consistently outplay older, more athletic opponents.
The Huskers lost arguably their three top big men from last season's team in 6'10' Walter Pritchford, 6'9" Moses Abraham and 6'8" Leslee Smith. Right now it's expected that Morrow will start at the four with 6'10" sophomore Jake Hammond at the five. Jacobson is the team's next tallest player after Hammond and if he shows enough in camp, he could earn some minutes in a Nebraska front court that is far from set. But even if he doesn't play much this season, expect Jacobson to become a key piece for the Huskers down the road.