For CSU basketball fans, Saturday will be the first game in almost five years that they will not see the familiar No. 22 attached to the name Dorian Green. Along with Pierce Hornung, Wes Eikmeier, Greg Smith and Colton Iverson, Green helped to change the CSU program from a conference bottom-feeder in 2008 to a two-time NCAA tournament and Top-25 team a season ago.
As this year’s team begins its 2013-14 season Saturday against Regis, we check in with and say our final goodbye to arguably the best class in Colorado State basketball history.
After a senior year in which he averaged over 14 points and nine rebounds per game while claiming conference Newcomer of the Year and Honorable Mention All-America honors, Iverson decided to take his talents to the NBA. He was taken with the 53rd overall pick in this summer’s draft by the Boston Celtics. While playing for Boston’s summer league team this July, Iverson found himself in a logjam of big men in the Celtics frontcourt. Instead of staying with the team and possibly being cut, Iverson signed with Turkish club Bestikas with an option to return to the Celtics next season. Through five games this fall Iverson is averaging 8.4 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 55 percent from the field.
For Hornung, last year’s loss to Louisville in the 3rd round of the NCAA Tournament marked the final time he would step on the floor to play competitive basketball. After spending the better part of his career as the “glue guy” for this CSU program, collecting rebounds and blocks as well as multiple concussions and injuries, Hornung decided to hang up his sneakers in the name of safety and health. Hornung currently resides here in Fort Collins and works as a teller for First National Bank.
Unlike Iverson and fellow teammate Greg Smith, Wes Eikmeier did not receive any interest from the NBA after last season and immediately began training in hopes of securing a contract to play overseas. Eikmeier’s hard work paid off when he signed a contract this summer with the Balkan basketball club in Botevgrad, Bulgaria. On a team with only two other American players, Eikmeier has cemented himself as the starting shooting guard, averaging 10 points, three rebounds and two assists while playing almost 28 minutes per game.
For Smith, it looked as though the NBA might be a possibility when he was asked to join the Nuggets for pre-draft workouts this June. Alongside three other prospects, Smith worked out for the Nuggets, but did not receive any free-agent offers after the draft. Smith continued to train in hopes of also landing a job overseas. At the Moby Madness event this past month where he was selected as a dunk contest judge, Smith announced that he had agreed to play professionally in Brazil during the upcoming year. Due to ongoing contract negotiations, Smith is not permitted to discuss contract or team details until the deal is signed.
Possibly the biggest surprise of all was Green who passed up the chance to play professionally and instead joined former CSU assistant Niko Medved’s staff at Furman University. As one of the most decorated players in Colorado State history, Green became the face of the program while setting the school record of consecutive games played at 127 and ranking sixth all-time in scoring with 1,464 points. Former coach Tim Miles and current coach Larry Eustachy referred to Green as an extension of themselves on the floor, something he will most certainly take into his first year of coaching this year under Medved.
As we leave behind one of the greatest eras in CSU basketball history, we say goodbye to five players who changed the entire landscape of this program and look to future teams to continue the winning tradition that this group has built.
Basketball reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.