Even with Tim Miles leaving Fort Collins to become head coach at Nebraska there was optimism about Colorado State’s hopes in 2012-13.
Larry Eustachy left Southern Miss to fill the vacant head coaching position and with many of their key contributors from last season’s NCAA tournament team back the Rams were thought to be capable of returning to the Big Dance.
While that goal remains on the table thanks the returnees and transfers Daniel Bejarano and Colton Iverson becoming eligible, Colorado State suffered a key loss as senior guard Jesse Carr tore his ACL and is done for the year.
The news was first reported by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.
[tweet https://twitter.com/GoodmanCBS/status/253949089765552128 align=’center’]
Carr started just five games as a junior but he was a vital cog in the Colorado State rotation, as he averaged 7.2 points and 2.7 assists per game.
The Ainsworth, Nebraska native was CSU’s leader in assists last season, but while his injury does hurt the Rams they’re capable of accounting for his loss.
Bejarano was a lights-out scorer in high school but couldn’t crack the rotation in either of his two years at Arizona, and Carr’s injury opens up even more playing time for him this season.
As for the ball-handling chores it’s more than possible that Colorado State can divide those duties between Wes Eikmeier and Dorian Green, something they did last season.
Both averaged at least two assists per game (forward Pierce Hornung averaged 1.7 apg) with Green’s 2.4 making him the team’s leading returnee now that Carr is sidelined.
Wabash Valley College transfer Jonathan Octeus could also factor into the perimeter rotation, which will compete in a Mountain West that’s become even stronger with the arrival of Nevada (led by stellar point guard Deonte Burton) and Fresno State.
UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico are the favorites in the eyes of many while the Wolf Pack have the perimeter play needed to make a splash in their debut season in the conference.
But while losing Carr certainly hurts, Colorado State has the parts needed to account for his absence.