Colorado State Rams

Larry Eustachy

Colorado State finds difficulty scheduling good non-conference games

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Colorado State became a symbol for why having a decent non-conference schedule matters, as head coach Larry Eustachy’s team missed the NCAA tournament last season despite having an RPI of 29.

The Rams became the second top-30 RPI team ever to miss the field in-part because a weak non-conference schedule padded their 27-7 overall record with a 14-0 record in non-conference play. Sure, Colorado State earned wins over Colorado and UTEP, but that didn’t exactly have the committee fired up.

According to a report from Kelly Lyell of the Coloradoan, Eustachy is once again having a tough time scheduling games against elite competition. As Lyell’s story points out, the Rams are 45-9 at home in Eustachy’s three seasons at the school, so it would be tough to get power conference opponents to come through.

“Nobody wants to play us,” Eustachy said in Lyell’s story. “Our teams have always been tough to beat at home. Our fans would love to see UCLA come in here, for example, Duke come in here. If they can get them to do that, we’d sign the contract yesterday.

“… We do the best that we can under the circumstances.”

Since Colorado State can’t seem to draw big-name opponents, with the exception of Colorado coming in this season, they’ll travel to Northern Iowa to start the season and also play Kansas State in a neutral setting in Wichita. The difficulty of getting elite teams to play games at Colorado State has made Eustachy start to propose some unique ideas.

From Lyell’s story:

Schools in the five power conferences don’t want to come to Fort Collins, even in 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 deals, Eustachy said.

“There’s not a big pool if we want home games,” Eustachy said. “If you’re out there listening and you’re a Colorado State fan, get Kansas to come in here, and we’ll throw in a bonus for you. Get those schools to come here. We’ll play Kansas 3 for 1, we’ll go there 5 for 1.”

It’s unfortunate that Colorado State can’t get good home games, but maybe scheduling a second good neutral site game against a power conference team or looking ahead and getting good mid-major programs at home would help them play better competition in the early going.

If Colorado State has another strong start in non-conference this season, it’ll be something to track in terms of their ongoing RPI and how they might make the field of 68.

Charges dropped against Colorado State’s Gian Clavell, reinstated by Larry Eustachy

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Colorado State guard Gian Clavell, a rising senior, returned to team activities on after charges against him were dropped.

Matt L. Stephens of The Coloradoan reported on Monday evening that Clavell’s case was dismissed last Thursday. Back on July 17, Clavell was arrested after campus police witnessed an incident between Clavell and a female student. He was arrested “alleged harassment and false imprisonment, with a domestic violence enhancement.”

Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy suspended Clavell from the team following the arrested. Eustachy confirmed to Stephens that Clavell is back with the program.

Clavell is Colorado State’s top returning scorer at 9.2 points per game. The Rams graduated J.J. Avila, Stanton Kidd and Daniel Bejarano, all of whom averaged double figures from a season ago. The 6-foot-4 Clavell takes on a larger role for the Rams this season alongside fellow guards Joe De Ciman and John Gillon.

Colorado State, coming off a 27-win season and a trip to the NIT, open the 2015-16 campaign at Northern Iowa on Nov. 14.

Colorado State’s Antwan Scott granted sixth year of eligibility

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Colorado State received good news on Monday afternoon, as guard Antwan Scott was granted a sixth season of eligibility.

The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 1.3 points in 1.5 assists per game in 33 total minutes due to a foot injury. Following a win over Air Force Academy on Jan. 10, Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy officially ruled Scott out for the remainder of the season. He appeared in only four games.

Scott joined the Colorado State in August 2014, transferring in from Grambling State, where he averaged 15.7 points, 4.7 boards and 3.8 assists per game during the 2013-14 season. He was immediately eligible as a graduate transfer. Adding Scott back to the lineup is important for a Rams team that lost its top three scorers, J.J. Avila, Stanton Kidd and Daniel Bejarano.

Colorado State finished 27-7 (13-5 in the Mountain West), earning a bid to the postseason NIT.

Colorado State guard Gian Clavell suspended following arrest

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Friday afternoon it was reported that one of the guards expected to be a key contributor for Colorado State this upcoming season has landed in legal trouble.

Gian Clavell, who averaged 9.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and is the team’s leading returning scorer, has been suspended from the team following his arrest Thursday. According to The Coloradoan, Clavell has been arrested “for alleged harassment and false imprisonment, with a domestic violence enhancement” with campus police officers witnessing the alleged incident with a female student Thursday morning.

Colorado State lost forwards J.J. Avila and Stanton Kidd and guard Daniel Bejarano from last season’s team, which missed out on the NCAA tournament despite winning 27 games. For that reason Clavell’s expected to be a key contributor for the Rams, but this legal situation throws a wrench into those plans for the time being.

Clavell is one of three returnees to average between 7.9 and 9.2 points per game last season, with Joe De Ciman and John Gillon being the others. That core will be joined by a group of newcomers led by junior college transfer Emmanuel Ombogo, who was rated as one of the top prospects in the 2015 class, as they look to get Colorado State to the NCAA tournament.

Report: Colorado State loses signee C.J. Keyser to prep school

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Given the amount of production lost from last season’s 27-win team, with their top three scorers (forwards J.J. Avila and Stanton Kidd and guard/forward Daniel Bejarano) out of eligibility, Colorado State is expecting a lot from its incoming recruiting class. Wednesday it was reported that Larry Eustachy’s six-member recruiting haul has dropped to five, with three-star shooting guard C.J. Keyser reportedly headed to prep school this fall instead of Fort Collins.

News of Keyser’s decision was first reported by, and it has yet to be decided where the Sunrise Christian Academy product will attend school in the fall. This move means that the Rams will only have two newcomers in its backcourt in guards Prentiss Nixon and Anthony Bonner.

CSU coach Larry Eustachy was excited to add a player with the type of athletic ability that Keyser possesses.

Back in May, Eustachy told the Loveland Reporter-Herald that Kesyer “could be maybe the best talent that Colorado State has signed as a freshman in a long time, if it’s not one of the other guys we signed.”

While losing Keyser isn’t an ideal situation for Colorado State, how much this hurts their perimeter depth depend in part upon the status of guard Antwan Scott. Scott, who played in just four games last season due to injury, has applied for a hardship waiver that would result in another season of eligibility if granted according to the Loveland Reporter-Herald.

And it isn’t as if Colorado State lacks options on the perimeter either. The Rams return veterans John Gillon, Gian Clavell, Joe DeCiman and Fred Richardson to its perimeter from last season, with Clavell averaging 9.2 points per game in 2014-15 and DeCiman and Gillon adding 7.9 ppg apiece.

Add in Nixon and Bonner, and Eustachy and his staff have some players to work with as they look to reach the NCAA tournament after missing out in 2014-15. The issue comes in 2016-17, when three of the returning veterans (and Scott should he get an extra year) are out of eligibility.

Mountain West releases full conference schedule

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Slowly but surely college basketball programs are releasing their full non-conference schedules. And in the case of the 11 members of the Mountain West, they now know their possible path to a regular season conference title.

Wednesday the conference released its full league schedule, with four games on December 30 marking the start of conference play. Each team will play eight opponents both home and away, with single games (one home, one away) against the other two teams to reach a total of 18 conference games.

Of the four conference games to be played December 30, Fresno State’s trip to UNLV could be the most intriguing matchup. While the Runnin’ Rebels add one of the nation’s top recruiting classes to help account for the loss of four starters, most notably Christian Wood and Rashad Vaughn, Fresno State returns its top five scorers from a season ago led by senior guard Marvelle Harris.

Also on the schedule December 30 are Wyoming visiting preseason favorite San Diego State in a rematch of last year’s Mountain West tournament title game, Nevada visiting New Mexico and Utah State visiting San Jose State. The Mountain West will look to increase the number of NCAA tournament bids from last season’s total of three, which could have been even lower had the Cowboys not earned the conference’s automatic bid.

Below are the single-game matchups for each of the teams in the Mountain West. In larger conferences with unbalanced schedules, those single games can have a significant impact on the title race if head-to-head tiebreakers are needed to determine a champion.

Air Force: vs. Boise State, at San Diego State
Boise State: vs. Fresno State, at Air Force
Colorado State: vs. New Mexico, at Fresno State
Fresno State: vs. Colorado State, at Boise State
Nevada: vs. San Diego State, at San Jose State
New Mexico: vs. Wyoming, at Colorado State
San Diego State: vs. Air Force, at Nevada
San Jose State: vs. Nevada, at UNLV
UNLV: vs. San Jose State, at Utah State
Utah State: vs. UNLV, at Wyoming
Wyoming: vs. Utah State, at New Mexico