All quotes courtesy of Matt Stephens of The Coloradoan.
Name: David Cohn
Measurables: 6' 2" 170 lbs
What he brings:
David Cohn is accustomed to playing against the best. He hails from York High School in the hot bed of high school basketball known as Chicago. He played in the same league as players like ESPN's #2 overall recruit Jabari Parker and was ranked sixth among all Illinois recruits in 2013 with 17.3 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists a game his senior season. Originally a commit of former coach Tim Miles', Cohn held his commitment through the coaching change to Larry Eustachy; something he was used to in high school playing for five different coaches.
Although usually classified as a shooting guard due to his ability to score almost at will, Cohn says he wants to become a more solid contributor in the passing game.
"I think a lot of people just label me as a shooting guard because I have kind of a shoot-first mentality as opposed to passing, but I consider myself a point guard," Cohn said. "I've really tried to transform my game to passing first. I want to be a scoring threat, but I try to weigh out all my options as opposed to score, score, score."
Cohn might be the best player in this class and certainly has the ability to be the Dorian Green of this new era of Rams basketball. Combine that with returners Jon Octeus, Daniel Bejarano, Joe De Ciman, and the hopeful return of Jesse Carr and this Eustachy team will have one of the most dynamic back courts in the Mountain West.
Name: Carlton Hurst
Measurables: 6' 3" 175 lbs
What he brings:
Carlton Hurst does one thing extremely well; dunk in any sort of fashion. He made a name for himself in Denver media with his 40" vertical and unapologetic ability to finish at the rim despite the defenders around, and in most cases, under him. But Hurst is much more than just a walking highlight reel. During his senior season, he averaged a double-double with 24.3 points and 11.8 rebounds on his way to an All-Colorado selection.
Although Hurst's shooting needs work, his ability to get to the basket will help abate the loss of Dorian Green. He is excellent at drawing fouls; holding Colorado records for both free throw attempts and makes in a season, and rebounds well for a guard, let alone a forward. With the amount of talented guards in front of him on the roster, it is doubtful Hurst will see playing time next season and will most likely benefit with a red shirt year.
Name: Marcus Holt
Measurables: 6' 10" 205 lbs
What he brings:
Marcus Holt's journey to Colorado State has been rather quiet and low-key compared to that of some other players in the class. After averaging 13.5 points and 9 rebounds a game in high school, Holt enrolled at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas despite offers from Missouri and Xavier among others. During his only season at Paris, he averaged a paltry 3 points and 3 rebounds a game. His upside and raw athleticism still earned him a three star rating from Rivals.com and offers from big schools such as Marquette, Washington, and Wichita State.
Holt will be available immediately to help replace the lost production of NBA Draft pick Colton Iverson. Do not expect him to match even half of that production single handily, but with returning starter Gerson Santo and fellow transfer J.J. Avila, it is likely the Rams will have an effective front court.
Name: J.J. Avila
Measurables: 6' 7" 246 lbs
What he brings:
Perhaps the most interesting addition in this class, J.J. Avila has spent the past year not playing against college or high school competition, but against pick-up teams in McAllen, Texas. Avila was attending classes at South Texas College to get his associates degree while he waited patiently to get back to a D-1 program. Because South Texas does not have a basketball team, his only option to stay in playing shape was to play pick-up games against local average joes.
Before his stint in Texas, Avila played two seasons for the Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy before deciding to transfer away from the program. In those two seasons, he averaged 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds a game and earned a Patriot League Rookie of the Year title his freshman season. For those skeptical if he can return to playing form after a year off from collegiate basketball, Avila has this to say,
"Ever since I've been home, I've been working everyday, waiting for my opportunity to get back. I'm not going to let anyone down, especially not let myself down."
Because he is transferring from a junior college, Avila will be immediately eligible to play for Coach Eustachy. It is likely he will be used early as well considering the Rams only have one player over 6' 4" on the current roster. He has the ability to stretch the floor and score in a multitude of ways, not much different than former Ram Greg Smith.
Name: Dantiel Daniels
Measurables: 6' 5" 230 lbs
What he brings:
Dantiel Daniels comes to Fort Collins from Southern Illinois University where he played his freshman and sophomore seasons. After earning All-Freshman team honors his first year with the Salukis, Daniels battled ankle and groin injuries in his sophomore campaign on the way to 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds a game. He will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules but will benefit learning from guard/forward combo Daniel Bejarano.
"The year I have to sit out will do wonders for me. I can perfect my craft and work on the things I need to. Free throws are the biggest hole in my game. Also ball-handling and getting a stronger right hand - I'm a lefty. I'll be able to go up in the gym and get a lot of shots up while the team is out traveling," Daniels said. "This is the perfect place for me."
Once Daniels is available to play he will provide an instant boost to the team's athleticism; in his freshman season he led the Missouri Valley Conference in blocks despite his smaller figure. He will need to work on his scoring and rebounding, but his size will fit well in Eustachy's offense. Also, playing against teams like Creighton and Wichita State likely helped prepare him for some of the teams he will face in the Mountain West.
Name: Stanton Kidd
Measurables: 6' 7" 210 lbs
What he brings:
The last piece of the 2013 class is North Carolina Central transfer Stanton Kidd. Kidd played only his junior season with the Eagles after transferring from junior college program South Plains College. In his junior season at NCCU, Kidd went for 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds a game. Included in those stats are games against Wichita State and Marquette in which he scored 22 and 18 points, respectively. After sitting out next year due to transfer rules, Kidd will try to make his one season at Colorado State worth it before graduating. He certainly has the tools to do so with a multifaceted game that includes an effective mid-range and outside game as well as an adept ability to get inside and finish.
The one curious facet to his recruitment was his reasoning for choosing Colorado State and the Mountain West for his transfer destination. This is most likely being played up more than it really should be, but it is something to consider regardless. Read the quote below to make your own judgement.
"I wanted to get more exposure so I can have a better shot playing with top competition," Kidd said. "It's not that the MEAC isn't good competition, 15-9 in the MEAC is OK, but you won't get recognized much by scouts. If you go 15-9 in the Mountain West, that's a lot better. There are a lot of pro guys who have come from the Mountain West, plus the conference sends four or five teams to the NCAA tournament."