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High-Flying Rams in 2021?

The Colorado State Rams will be featuring young starters this upcoming season. Will they be able to carry the squad to a victorious year?

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams of Colorado State last year were solid. They ended 20-12 and 11-7 in conference play. When all was said and done, they ended tied for fifth in the conference. But other than last season they have been in the middle or the bottom half of the pack throughout recent years in the Mountain West Conference. For the past couple of years, there has been nothing outrageous, but nothing pressing that shouts “something needs to be changed.”

Could this year become a special season for the basketball program?

There will be some loss of production for them without a doubt. They will be losing three seniors who produced just over 32% of the team’s total points. Their second-leading scorer, Nico Carvacho, will be graduating. The 6’11 center from Texas who averaged a double-double with 12.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game will be a significant void for the team. He was a workhorse, logging in just under 30 minutes per game. He played both sides of the ball, averaging 0.6 blocks per game.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Secondly, they will be losing the guard play of Kris Martin. Martin, who was a senior, was important to have down the stretch of close games. In his final campaign, he averaged just under 7.5 points per game, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. He played 22.7 minutes of each game. Fortunately, there are several guards ready to fill his spot in the next couple of years.

The third and final senior they will be losing is Hyron Edwards, a guard as well. The six-foot player from Indiana had more of a modest role but remained impactful, posting 4 points per game, with 1.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. He also averaged 1.1 steals per game. So with these three leaving, the damage will be felt, but the pieces will still be there for the program.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Replacing Carvacho is going to be challenging. He was the only listed center on the team, according to ESPN. Not being able to replace his height, the Rams will be headed towards a smaller lineup. 6’6, 200-pound forward, Adam Thistlewood, is bound to hit the hardwood even more frequently this season. His playing time is bound to increase well into the thirties, which will give him an opportunity to have stellar stats. He put up double-digit points as just a sophomore and lined it up very well from three-point land. Luckily for him, he’ll have a partner, Dischon Thomas, to help shoulder the load. Thomas is a big man, to say the least. The 6’9, the 215-pound rising sophomore will need to become a contributor for the Rams this upcoming season. Last season, he averaged 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds, in under 10 minutes. Not bad at all, for how little he saw the court.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The guard spot is also going to be changed drastically. The turnover from old to young, starts now.

Fortunately with the losses of both Martin and Edwards, the guard position is loaded with talent ready to take center stage.

Isaiah Stevens who was just a freshman last season broke out. He was named freshman of the year, and his career with the Rams is shining with potential. The conference is full of young talent, so this is an incredible feat for Stevens. He led the team in points, minutes, and assists per game, as a rookie. He put up 13.2 points per game and added 4.5 assists. So, Isaiah Stevens is going to put Colorado State in good hands, and they will be in even better shape if another player, such as David Roddy, contributes.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Roddy is another flourishing prospect who averaged double digits as a freshman. He has good size, listed at 6’5 and uses that to his advantage. He is big in the post-play and the mid-range area. Last season, he contributed 11.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Without a doubt, these two players are going to be lethal for the Rams for years to come. They will certainly be in the mix for awards when it’s all said and done.

One other guard, that is going to play a big part of next season, is Kendle Moore. Moore has played a considerable role with the Rams during his two-year tenure thus far. As a freshman, Kendle averaged 8.6 points per game, on 41.1% from the field. One year later, he averaged 9 points, while going 45.8% from the field. These numbers should keep on rising.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 season schedule for Colorado State hasn completely been released yet, but they will be competing in a solid four-team tournament. The MGM Resorts Main Event, will take place from November 20th to the 22nd. The tournament consists of Colorado State, Arkansas, San Francisco, and Louisville. The Rams are set to play Louisville, and then one of the other two teams. In addition to this tournament, they will be hosting Richmond for an A10-Mountain West showdown on December 5th. This game will be a highly anticipated matchup, featuring the young Rams versus the experience Spiders. Could the Rams bring home some early quality wins in these contests?

A more complete prediction for the Colorado State Rams for the upcoming season can be made once the whole schedule comes out. But, my expectations are the Rams should have a winning record in the conference a good chance to post 20 or more wins in total.

Hopefully, Niko Medved and his staff will continue down the path of a winning record, and create something special.