Larry Eustachy

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 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.

Colorado State’s Larry Eustachy receives contract extension through 2019

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Just before their 80-70 win over Georgia State Friday night, Colorado State announced that the contract of head coach Larry Eustachy has been extended through the 2018-19 season. According to Matt L. Stephens of the Coloradoan financial terms of the deal won’t change as a result of the school’s decision to pick up the option on Eustachy’s original contract.

No new financial arrangements were agreed to, meaning Eustachy, in his third season with Colorado State Unviersity, will make $928,200 this year, an increase of $18,200 over last season. He earns an annual raise of 2 percent — excluding bonuses — which will make his base salary $1.005 million in 2018-19.

His buyout remains at $4.5 million through the end of the 2017-18 season. The next season, it decreases to $2.25 million.

After leading Colorado State to a school-record 26 wins and an NCAA tournament appearance in 2012-13, Eustachy’s Rams finished the 2013-14 season with an overall record of 16-16. With their transfer-laden squad the Rams are expected to take a step forward this season, with the conference’s media members picking them to finish fifth in the preseason poll.

Seniors J.J. Avila and Daniel Bejarano return as the team’s leading scorers, and newcomers such as guard Gian Clavell and forward Stanton Kidd will be factors as well.

Transfer-laden Colorado State squad looks to rebound from disappointing 2013-14

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Larry Eustachy’s Rams went 16-16 last season (Getty Images)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 college hoops preview package.

Entering the 2013-14 season Larry Eustachy’s Colorado State Rams had quite the challenge in front of them. Gone were five starters, four of whom scored in double figures, who played key roles in the program making consecutive NCAA tournament appearances (2012 and 2013) for the first time since 1989-90. Predictably the Rams struggled, finishing the season with record of 16-16 overall and 7-11 in Mountain West play. Entering 2014-15, Colorado State’s roster includes six Division I transfers, and the hope is that this experienced group can deliver the program’s first regular season conference title since 1990 (shared the WAC title with BYU).

Transfers move from one program to another for a variety of reasons, but the schools that enjoy the most success with such players tend to have this in common: there’s no confusion about roles or expectations. That’s the case in Fort Collins, where Eustachy’s Rams will be led by two seniors who began their respective careers at different schools in Daniel Bejarano and J.J. Avila.

“Larry always knows what he’s doing, and he’s always been successful with transfers because they’re ready physically so he doesn’t really have to worry about things like that,” Bejarano told last week. “They’re willing to work, and no offense to freshmen, but at the same time I think Larry wants guys who are ready to compete.

“Larry knows what he’s doing but at the same time you have to give credit to our assistants (associate head coach Leonard Perry and assistants Steve Barnes and Ross Hodge) as well because they work hard, and I appreciate them more than anything.”

Bejarano is entering his third season (on the court) at Colorado State, and he’s steadily become one of the Mountain West’s best guards. After winning Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2013 Bejarano took full advantage of the added responsibility in 2013-14, averaging 16.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game and being named first team All-Mountain West at season’s end. As for Avila he averaged a team-best 16.6 points to go along with 7.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per contest.

Both will once once again be in a position to make plays offensively for the Rams, but the addition of four-year (meaning the institution, not eligibility) transfers John Gillon and Antwan Scott and junior college transfer Gian Clavell provides Colorado State with some welcome depth in this area.

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“I don’t need to have the ball in my hands as much as I did last season. We all can make plays,” Avila noted. “I can go set more screens and get my teammates open, which in turn gets me open too. We should be better offensively as a result.”

The perimeter newcomers will be key for a team that struggled shooting the basketball last season, as Colorado State finished the year ranked tenth in the Mountain West in both field goal (42.8 percent) and three-point percentage (32.6 percent). Of course the Rams were the second-best team in the conference from an efficiency standpoint, with their ability to hit the offensive glass and get to the foul line being key reasons why. But improved shooting could be the key for a team hoping to thrive in a conference race that has as many as seven realistic contenders.

Gillon shot 39.4 percent from beyond the arc in his lone season at UALR, and Scott made 39.2 percent of his attempts at Grambling as season ago. If those two can replicate those numbers in Colorado State’s system, things should open up for the Rams’ other scoring options.

Unlike Bejarano, who began his college career at Arizona, Avila made the move to Colorado State from a less successful program at Navy. What also made things difficult for the 6-foot-7 forward is that his year away from competition was spent without the benefit of any kind of structured basketball. Avila didn’t have the benefit of going through the practices and workouts that can be of high value to transfers in 2012-13, and it was during this period that Avila learned more about himself as a person.

“It was awful,” Avila told “I think it really taught me the value of self-discipline. I was in the gym and doing what I needed to do, but it isn’t the same as being in workouts and practices. I became more introspective as well, just understanding that things happen for a reason and remaining on track. I don’t wish that [time off] on anybody, but I’m here now.”

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Daniel Bejarano (Getty Images)

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Avila and Bejarano were Colorado State’s best rebounders a season ago, leading the way for a team that ranked second in the Mountain West in offensive rebounding percentage (39.4 percent) and third in defensive rebounding percentage (73.1 percent). This year they’ll have more help on the glass, even with Gerson Santo out of eligibility and Jon Octeus having transferred to Purdue. Stanton Kidd, who averaged 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game at North Carolina Central in 2012-13, and Tiel Daniels (7.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg at Southern Illinois in 2012-13) give the Colorado State needed depth and experience in the front court with senior Marcus Holt also looking to factor into the rotation.

Even with last season’s results the formula hasn’t changed at Colorado State, and that’s what gives their surplus of newcomers a good shot at experiencing success. According to both Avila and Bejarano there’s a clear understanding of what’s expected, and for a player looking to get acclimated to a new program and new surroundings that can be invaluable. Colorado State has a total of nine players on its roster who arrived on campus via either another four-year school or a junior college, and balancing such rosters can be tough. However with their two leaders having gone through that experience themselves, Colorado State feels well-equipped to manage that as they look to win a Mountain West title.

“We’re going to have to gel together and we’re going to have to stick together, because we’re going to have some ups and downs and that’s what it’s all about in college basketball,” Bejarano said. “We’re going to be very successful this year and I’m very confident about that, it’s just all about going out there and doing it.

“A lot of people don’t have us winning [the Mountain West], finishing second, third, fifth or wherever, but none of that matters. What matters is [where you’re at] at the end of the season.”

6-foot-10 center verbally commits to Colorado State

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Of Colorado State’s five seniors entering the 2014-15 season three are front court players, J.J. Avila, Marcus Holt and Stanton Kidd. Avila was one of the Mountain West’s best players last season, as he averaged 16.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest and earned third team all-conference honors, and both Holt and Kidd are expected to factor into this season’s rotation as well.

With those three approaching the end of their time in Fort Collins, head coach Larry Eustachy and his staff need to bolster the front court depth for the future. Sunday afternoon the Colorado State program received its third verbal commitment in the class in the form of 6-foot-10 center Nico Carvacho. Carvacho currently attends Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, and news of his commitment was announced via the program’s Twitter account.

Carvacho attended Frisco HS in Frisco, Texas last year, where he made the District 9-4A All-Defensive Team and was also named district co-Newcomer of the Year. According to MaxPreps, Carvacho averaged 10.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game last season. Carvacho joins guard Jeremiah Paige and small forward Nathan Bain as members of Colorado State’s 2015 recruiting class.

Bain actually signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Colorado State last November, but he’s spending a prep year at Sunrise Christian Academy before joining the program. Bain and Carvacho play on different teams at Sunrise Christian, with Carvacho being on the elite roster that is for player with high school eligibility remaining.

Carvacho will join a front court that will include Bain and holdovers Tiel Daniels and Toby Van Ry. Daniels, who transferred in from Southern Illinois, will be a redshirt junior this season with Van Ry being a freshman.