#111 Colorado State Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Colorado State Rams
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #111
Conference Rank: #6 Mountain West

Colorado State was one game away from their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012-13, but after losing to Nevada in the Mountain West Championship game, the Rams were sent to the NIT where they were bounced in the second round. Still, going 13-5 in the Mountain West, including winning 10 of their last 12 regular season games, should be considered a success for Larry Eustachy’s squad. The Rams played most of last season with just seven scholarship players after three players were ruled ineligible for the spring semester. Led by Mountain West Player of the Year Gian Clavell and double-double machine Emmanuel Omogbo, the Rams rallied to finish second in the conference standings. However, Clavell and Omogbo have both since graduated, and new players will have to step up for Colorado State to have another shot at the Big Dance in 2018.
2016-17 Record: 24-12, 13-5
2016-17 Postseason:
Larry Eustachy
Coach Record:
111-60 at Colorado State, 513-316 overall
Who’s Out:
Colorado State will be without their two leading scorers from the 2016-17 season. Gian Clavell and Emmanuel Omogbo and their combined 34 points per game have graduated from the program. Clavell was named Mountain West Player of the Year last season behind his conference-best 20.4 points per game, along with 6.3 rebounds and 38.6% three-point shooting. Clavell averaged 20+ points each of the last two seasons and his departure leaves a major scoring void that the Rams must find a way to replace. Omogbo was a member of the All-Mountain West First Team and Mountain West All-Defensive Team last season. He averaged a double-double and even set the Mountain West record for double-doubles with 13 during conference play. The Rams are going to have to replace two of the best players in school history. Also, 6-9 center Braden Koelliker, who played 18.9 minutes per game last season, transferred for family reasons.
Who’s In:
Deion James, the NJCAA Divison II Player of the Year will join the Rams this season. James is a 6-8 forward who averaged 20.6 points and 9.6 rebounds for Pima College last season. James is a versatile forward who can stretch the floor with his shooting and will be leaned on to replace Omogbo’s production. Alonzo Tyson, a 6-9 forward, also signed with Colorado State as a junior college transfer. Tyson averaged 14 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last season. Raquan Mitchell will be eligible this season after signing with Colorado State in November 2016. Mitchell, a 6-3 guard, initially signed with Memphis in 2015 but never played a game there. Robbie Berwick will be eligible after transferring in last season from Florida State. Lorenzo Jenkins will also be eligible after transferring from Arkansas and sitting out last season. Two-star forward Logan Ryan will join the program as a freshman this season.
Who to Watch:
Last season’s starting backcourt, J.D. Paige and Prentiss Nixon, will both be juniors. Nixon averaged 13.2 points per game, but needs to improve his 31.4% mark on three-point shots. If Nixon can become more efficient, he can help replace some of Clavell’s scoring production. Paige scored 8.8 points per game and led the Rams with 2.5 assists per game. Three junior college transfers from last season – Che Bob, Kimani Jackson and Devocio Butler – were all ruled ineligible for the spring semester due to grades. All three will be fully eligible this season and will also be the only three seniors on the roster. Bob showed promising scoring ability, putting up double-digit point totals in six games, including two 20-point performances. Butler was also beginning to blossom as a scorer, with six double-digit scoring games before totaling just 12 points over his last seven appearances. Jackson has been with the team since the 2015-16 season and will look to improve upon his 4.2 points per game in 15 games last season.
Final Projection:
The Rams are in an interesting position heading into the 2017-18 season. They will be without their two biggest contributors from last season, but they add some quality transfers while also getting back the three seniors who missed the second half of last season. Junior Nico Carvacho is also back with the team after starting the final 33 games of the season. If the newcomers can all mesh together and combine to replace Clavell and Omogbo’s production, then the Rams will be in a position to compete for the Mountain West title again. However, if the voids left by the two departed stars prove too large to fill, Colorado State could take a major step back.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
J.D. Paige, Junior, Guard, 8.8 points per game

Prentiss Nixon, Junior, Guard, 13.2 points per game
Devocio Butler, Senior, Forward, 5.9 points per game
Deion James, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Alonzo Tyson, Junior, Center, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.5 (192nd in nation, 8th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 68.0 (67, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.5 (265, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.7 (30, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (194, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (231, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.1 (85, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.7 (96, 2)
Assists Per Game: 11.0 (316, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.9 (23, 1)