#78 Colorado State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Colorado State Rams

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #78
Conference Rank: #4 Mountain West

Colorado State Team Page#78 Colorado State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Colorado State Basketball Tickets

Colorado State’s streak of five postseason appearances came to an end last year. The Rams got off to a decent start, but suffered through some tough stretches of two or three game losing streaks in Mountain West play. In the end, they finished just 16-16 overall. But Coach Larry Eustachy has good reason to be excited about this season. A handful of Division I transfers are eligible after most sat on the sidelines in 2013-2014 and that experience and leadership is going to let CSU start a new postseason streak.

2013-14 Record: 16-16, 7-11
2013-14 Postseason: none
Coach: Larry Eustachy
Coach Record: 42-25 at Colorado State, 444-283 overall

Who’s Out:
While there may be more talent on the floor this year, Colorado State took a big hit when Jon Octeus opted to transfer to UCLA for his senior season. He emerged as a quality perimeter scorer during his junior year and averaged 13.4 points and 4.7 rebounds. Dwight Smith is also leaving the program after an up and down year. He did have a good game in the season finale, but averaged just 3.2 points in 18 contests. Gerson Santo started 31 games in the frontcourt. He was never much of a scorer, but did do a very good job filling in for some huge frontcourt losses. David Cohn was a decent shooting option off of the bench during his freshman campaign, but is heading elsewhere to play the rest of his collegiate career.

Who’s In:
The losses are significant, but the Rams bring in more pure talent with this big group of newcomers. Division I transfers Danitel Daniels, from Southern Illinois, Stanton Kidd, from North Carolina Central, and John Gillon, from Arkansas-Little Rock, are garnering the most attention. Daniels, a 6-5 forward, is a great athlete who is an efficient scorer and an emerging shot blocker. He is only 6-5, but Daniels can get up to block shots and grab rebounds. Kidd only spent one year at NCCU, but he instantly turned into a leader. The 6-7 senior averaged 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds during his one season with the Eagles. Gillon started a dozen games during his only year with UALR, averaging 10.6 points and 2.4 assists. CSU also added Grambling State senior point guard Antwan Scott to play this year. A trio of junior college transfers are also headed to Fort Collins. Shooting guard Gian Clavell, wing Fred Richardson III and power forward Daniel Mulamba bring even more experience to this team. Of the eight newcomers, only two are freshmen. Power forward Toby Van Ry and point guard Jeremiah Paige will both battle for minutes. Paige has a lot of potential and could be called upon early in his career to play a big role.

Who to Watch:
Despite all of the losses, CSU does return three starters and two key reserves, led by guard Daniel Bejarano and forward J.J. Avila. Bejarano averaged 16.3 points per game and was easily the team’s most prolific outside shooting threat. The 6-4 senior is also one of the best rebounding guards in the country and led the Rams with 8.3 rebounds per game. Avila is a versatile 6-7, 246 pound forward. He may look like a guy who should hang out in the paint all of the time, but Avila is a decent shooter and a great passer for a player his size. In fact, he led the team with 3.4 assists per game. Joe De Ciman could see his starting role disappear in favor of one of the transfers, but he deserves a lot of credit for stepping into a starting role last year and performing as well as he did. He is a pretty consistent shooter and a decent all-around scorer who averaged 8.6 points during the 2013-2014 campaign. Carlton Hurst, a 6-3 sophomore, and Marcus Holt, a 6-10 center, look to add depth again this season.

Final Projection:
Losing Octeus was unfortunate, but this is still a team that will make some noise in the Mountain West. They may just be the most talented team in the conference. The question is whether or not all of the new faces can come together and play as a team. Point guard was going to be an issue, but Gillon and now Scott should be able to handle the job. With the rest of the conference losing talent and not bringing in nearly as much as Coach Eustachy, the Rams have a good shot at winning the conference. However, expect this group to get off to a slow start while everybody figures out their roles and too many early losses will make it tough for this group to earn an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
John Gillon, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Joe De Ciman, Junior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Daniel Bejarano, Senior, Guard, 16.3 points per game
Stanton Kidd, Senior, Forward, DNP last season
J.J. Avila, Senior, Forward, 16.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.3 (93rd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.7 (162, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.8 (244, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.2 (197, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (264, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.6 (239, 11)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.6 (72, 5)
Rebound Margin: 4.8 (35, 4)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (168, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 9.2 (6, 1)


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