Cyclones see solid turnout for Hilton Madness

Iowa State senior Donovan Jackson watches his shot after shooting the ‘money ball’ in the three point contest at Hilton Madness. The money ball is a different color and worth two points instead of one.

Aaron Marner

While the 2017-18 Iowa State men’s and women’s basketball seasons are more than a month away, Cyclone fans got a taste of basketball for the first time since March tonight at Hilton Madness.

Gone are men’s stars such as Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas and Deonte Burton. On the women’s side, all-Big 12 talents Seanna Johnson and Jadda Buckley left big shoes to fill.

Senior point guard Donovan Jackson, one of the few players to have gone through Hilton Madness before, said it’s fun to get out and see the fans for the first time since the end of last season.

“Just good for the fans, just to show them what kind of talent we do have,” Jackson said. “Just to show them that we are going to be good.”

For the first time, Cyclone fans got to see Lindell Wigginton and Terrence Lewis don the cardinal and gold. Both Lewis and Wigginton were 4-star recruits and Wigginton was rated as high as 34th in the nation according to 247Sports. On the women’s side, a number of players made their Hilton debuts, including top-100 freshmen Rae Johnson and Kristin Scott.

“Everybody’s been looking good,” Weiler-Babb said. “They start off slow but once they get into the system and everything — Lindell [Wigginton]’s been looking really good, he’ll be a big factor for us.”

Weiler-Babb also mentioned Lewis has been shooting well and will play a big role in 2017-18.

The night started with a 3-point shooting contest between the four classes. Two members of each class on the women’s side and the men’s side took the court for 90-second rounds. In the end, the senior class of Donovan Jackson, Emily Durr, Alexa Middleton and Jeff Beverly edged out the junior class of Bridget Carleton, Nick Weiler-Babb, Zoran Talley and Meredith Burkhall.

It was an easy night for coaches Steve Prohm and Bill Fennelly, who got to sit on the bench, talk with fans and watch their players relax.

“Obviously there’s not gonna be a lot of defense but it was good for these guys to get out here and get on the floor,” Prohm said. “We hadn’t practiced over [at Hilton] yet. I thought they had a lot of fun with it.”

Prohm complimented the fans for coming out on a Friday night with bad weather, and said it can be a useful recruiting tool when prospects come see an atmosphere like that in the offseason.

While the teams have only had about 10 practices this year, players were optimistic about the upcoming seasons.

Following the 3-point contest, a 20-minute Cardinal vs. Gold scrimmage took place, with women’s and men’s players rotating every five minutes.

For the opening tip, point guards Wigginton and Jackson lined up to jump. Wigginton won the tip, but Jackson raced around him, grabbed the ball out of the air, and finished with a fastbreak layup on the other end.

“I ain’t gonna lie, I’m tired,” Jackson said with a smile after the scrimmage.

Jackson complimented Wigginton, but said he still had things to learn.

“He’s still gotta learn the pace of the game,” Jackson said. “Stuff like that. But he’s real good. He’s still got a couple things he’s got to work on but he’s gonna be good for us.”

After an overtime period, the Gold team took a 66-61 win. Wigginton and Weiler-Babb starred for the Gold team.

The men’s team will tip November 10 at Missouri. The women will begin their season November 10 at Hilton vs. South Dakota. Both teams have exhibitions in Ames on November 5.