#98 Colorado State Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Colorado State Rams
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #98
Conference Rank: #4 Mountain West
Colorado State suffered through a pretty inconsistent season last year. Just when it would look like the Rams were ready to turn a corner, they would lose a couple games. The Rams struggled mightily on the road and that prevented this team from making a serious run at the top teams in the Mountain West Conference. The return of Gian Clavell, who missed all but ten games last season with a shoulder injury, will help usher in a new look Rams team. Clavell averaged 20.8 points and 6.9 rebounds in those ten games. He is a great scorer from anywhere on the floor and is ready to take over this team.
2015-16 Record: 18-16, 8-10
2015-16 Postseason: none
Coach: Larry Eustachy
Coach Record: 87-48 at Colorado State, 489-304 overall
Who’s Out:
Many of Clavell’s teammates are gone though. The transfer of point guard John Gillon hurt. He averaged 13.2 points and 3.8 assists last season. Antwan Scott ran out of eligibility after averaging 16.4 points per game. It was Scott who really stepped up his game during Clavell’s absence. Joe De Ciman was the other great shooter on the team and he is gone too. De Ciman averaged 10.3 points and connected on 67 three-pointers during his senior season. The backcourt also lost big guard Fred Richardson III, who averaged 3.5 points per game. The frontcourt losses are Tiel Daniels and Toby Van Ry. Daniels started all 34 games during his senior season and averaged 9.4 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Who’s In:
Coach Larry Eustachy will have to get quite a bit of production from his large group of newcomers. The Division I transfers are coming in next year, but for now a trio of junior college transfers will have to be ready. Devocio Butler is a big 6-5 guard who can score in a variety of ways. He will use his size to attack the basket and has a pretty nice outside shot too. Che Bob is a versatile 6-6 forward who can score in bunches and hit the glass. With his length, Bob’s best asset right now could be his defense. Braden Koelliker is a big 6-8 center who will add some much needed depth in the paint. Unlike Butler and Bob, Koelliker spent just one season at the junior college ranks, but he can score in the paint and is effective on the glass. The other newcomers are redshirt freshmen Anthony Bonner and Nico Carvacho. Carvacho will add frontcourt depth and Bonner could see major minutes if he can live up to his shooting potential.
Who to Watch:
Coach Eustachy has had success at the junior college ranks and no example is more appropriate than Emmanuel Omogbo. The 6-8 forward transferred to Colorado State last season and made an immediate impact, averaging 10.9 points and 8.0 rebounds. With Clavell and Omogbo, the Rams have an extremely potent inside-outside duo. But everybody knows what Colorado State has with Clavell and Omogbo. It is the development of the rest of the team that will make all of the difference. Prentiss Nixon and J.D. Paige both had their moments as freshmen. Nixon averaged 4.8 points per game and started seven games during conference play. He proved to be a very good shooter and will help replace the loss of Scott, Gillon and De Ciman. Paige can shoot too, but he will also attack the basket more effectively. Kimani Jackson did not pan out quite as well as Omogbo coming to CSU from the junior college ranks, but he can block some shots and at least provide quality depth.
Final Projection:
Colorado State does not have nearly as much experience as they had last year, but the talent is not gone. Getting a healthy Clavell back is huge and Omogbo is ready for a big senior season. Players like Nixon and Paige have talent and are ready to step up after gaining valuable experience as freshmen last season. As long as some of the newcomers pan out, this will be a pretty good Colorado State team by March. Looking for the top spot in the Mountain West or a trip to the NCAA Tournament may be asking too much, but the Rams should at least stay competitive with the likes of San Diego State and New Mexico.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
J.D. Paige, Sophomore, Guard, 4.9 points per game
Anthony Bonner, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Gian Clavell, Senior, Guard, 20.8 points per game
Che Bob, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Emmanuel Omogbo, Senior, Forward, 10.9 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.4 (36th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 77.2 (291, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.5 (247, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.1 (266, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.6 (18, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.4 (90, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.8 (104, 3)
Rebound Margin: 5.4 (35, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.4 (165, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.6 (74, 3)