When the CSU basketball team lost its energetic sixth man, guard Jesse Carr at the beginning of the season to a torn ACL, many were wondering who would step in and fill the void.
That role, at least in part, has been filled by redshirt sophomore guard Jon Octeus, who has coalesced nicely with the Rams’ offense since joining the team this past summer from Wabash Valley College.
“From the (first) visit I feel like I had chemistry with these guys, that’s why I chose to come here,” Octeus said.
“These are great guys and I don’t think it would be hard for anybody to come in here and be able to bond with this team, get along with this team and mesh with this team well.”
Octeus has come off the bench and played in every CSU game this year, often times running the offense at the point guard position and contributing to the Rams’ 20-4 record.
While creating for others has been a trademark of Octeus’ game throughout much of the season, he showed in the Rams’ most recent win Wednesday night against San Diego State that the 6-foot-4 guard can put the ball in the basket as well.
Playing in just 12 minutes, Octeus shot 4-6 from the field and tallied nine points in the game, two of which came off the closing dunk that sealed CSU’s 66-60 win over the Aztecs.
“We wouldn’t be where we’re at as a team if it wasn’t for him, let alone last game,” CSU coach Larry Eustachy said.
“When Jesse went down, somebody had to step up … and he’s done well. He’s a real winner, he’s gonna be a great player before he leaves here.”
The previous six games prior to Wednesday, Octeus shot just 26.3 percent from the field, but that didn’t stop him from having one of his best offensive performances in CSU’s most tightly-contested games of the year.
Despite the tough stretch Octeus was going through, his teammates had faith in him and felt comfortable with the ball in his hands.
“Yesterday before we even got into the game, Jesse (Carr) told me, he said ‘you belong,’” Octeus said.
“He told me and Daniel (Bejarano) that we belong, so once he said that, a light flicked on. You always feel like you belong but it’s nice to hear it, so when he said that yesterday it’s just — we understand that we have to come in and contribute, there can’t be a doubt, there can’t be a drop when we come into the game.”
When Octeus is on the floor, that drop has usually not occurred.
According to sports-reference.com, Octeus has assisted an average of 11.7 percent of all teammate field goals while he is in the game, that mark is the fifth-best on the team.
“You can’t say enough about what he’s done for us this year coming off the bench,” senior guard Dorian Green said.
“Especially when we lost Jesse (Carr), we lost a little bit of depth but we knew with him that we were gonna be OK. The success he’s had and the confidence he’s been playing with lately has been huge.”