Staff picks: Colorado State and Mountain West hoops

Justin Michael

The Collegian sports desk weighs in on the upcoming basketball season and gives their predictions for the Mountain West:

Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy
Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy

Season outlook: There will be a handful of games this season where CSU will go 2-for-20 from deep and look like a mess. Other than that, the Rams will actually be pretty good. Eustachy’s tournament promise? Unlikely, considering 27 wins didn’t cut it last year. But, it won’t be the same drop off as two years ago when the team went 16-16. There’s enough talent either leftover or joining the team for it to win 20-plus games. Watch for junior college transfer Emmanuel Omogbo to win MW Newcomer of the Year. As for the rest of the conference, it will likely come down to San Diego State and Boise State in the regular season, while UNLV could be dangerous in the tournament. Josh Adams of Wyoming will be the most exciting player to watch, but player of the year will likely go to the best player on the best team, and I believe that will be James Webb of Boise State. Even if SDSU does win, the scoring may be distributed so evenly that my darkhorse pick of Webb still comes through.

Ad

CSU record: 22-9 (11-7 MW)

Mountain West Player of the Year: James Webb III (Boise State)

MW champions: Boise State

____________________________________________________________

Football and Basketball Reporter Keegan Pope.
Football and Basketball Reporter Keegan Pope.

 You can book this: CSU will be the most physical team in the Mountain West this year. However, with college basketball’s new attention to calling fouls (which is horrible), that might not help them that much. There a lot to replace from last year’s record-setting team, plain and simple. But, that doesn’t mean the Rams don’t have the talent to get close to 20 wins. Gian Clavell and John Gillon have the opportunity to be breakout scorers, and Joe De Ciman is one of the most consistent players in the league. The question is where CSU’s frontcourt scoring comes from, and we’ll have to wait and see if Tiel Daniels, Emmanuel Omogbo and Kimani Jackson can answer that. The Rams should have a lot of success in the non-conference schedule, but will have their work cut out for them in MW play. Expect to see San Diego State at the top of the league, and Malik Pope (great name) to be the league’s player of the year.

Prediction: 19-12 (9-9 MW)

Mountain West Player of the Year: Malik Pope (San Diego State)

MW Champions: San Diego State

____________________________________________________________

CTV Sports Anchor Brett Kennedy
CTV Sports Anchor Brett Kennedy

Season outlook: I see great promise in CSU’s roster this year. Even with the loss of Stanton Kidd, Daniel Bejarano and JJ Avila, I still think this team has an opportunity to turn some heads this year. It’s time for Gian Clavell and John Gillon to step up this year and take bigger roles in this Rams offense. Watch Joe De Ciman raise his level of play this season even after the solid one he had last year. I really like Kimani Jackson and Emmanuel Omogbo. Omogbo won’t make CSU fans forget about JJ Avila, but he sure as heck won’t be a let down either. I expect he’ll make a large contribution to the team. Big games against Colorado, San Diego State, Boise State, UNLV and Wyoming lie on the Ram’s schedule. This team has enough talent to rise up and win a couple of games that they shouldn’t. But, San Diego State will once again reign supreme in the Mountain West. C’mon, it’s no question, the dunk artist Josh Adams will be the MW player of the year, that guy isn’t human. You think he’s good now? Just wait ’till he gets into the NBA, you watch.

Ad

CSU record: 23-8 (12-6 MW)

Mountain West Player of the Year: Josh Adams (Wyoming)

MW Champions: San Diego State

____________________________________________________________

Assistant Sports Editor Sam Lounsberry
Assistant Sports Editor Sam Lounsberry

CSU is going to surprise people in MW play after a shaky start to the season. The Rams will lose at least four non-conference games and look not so pretty against upper-tier teams like Kansas State. But, drastic improvement by the start of conference play is a staple of Larry Eustachy’s teams. There might be no coach more used to annually having new guys in new roles than Eustachy. The Rams will pull it together and pose a serious threat to any MW squads. They’ll lose one a piece to San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming and New Mexico. With the return of New Mexico head coach Craig Neal’s son, Cullen Neal, after a season-ending ankle injury last year, the Lobos will be more dangerous. Yes, Neal may be a showboat, but more often than not, his game backs his antics up. This guy’s offense was decent as a freshman, and electrifying in the start to his sophomore year. He played on the same AAU team as UCLA’s Bryce Alford and was by far the better of the two coach’s sons. He has been around the game a long time and understands it plenty well. Neal will put it together with his health back. Scary to think he has two years after this one in the Mountain West.

CSU record: 22-9 (13-5 MW)

Mountain West Player of the Year: Cullen Neal (New Mexico)

MW Champions: New Mexico

____________________________________________________________

Justin Michael (Sports Reporter):

Season outlook: CSU lost its three leading scorers from 2014-15, and in a tough Mountain West Conference, it is safe to say CSU is not likely to repeat their record-setting 27-win performance this season. Replacing the scoring of Avila, Bejarano and Kidd will be no easy task, but CSU will attempt to do so with John Gillon and Gian Clavell in the backcourt. Gillon is a versatile scorer, and his speed makes him a matchup nightmare around the league. Clavell is deadly from three-point range and adds a lot of versatility to the Colorado State lineup. In the frontcourt, there are some questions to be answered, like who will replace the offensive and defensive production of Avila. With teams like San Diego State stacked with height, the big men will play a large role in the success of CSU hoops. Kimani Jackson, Emmanuel Omogobo and Tiel Daniels will have to step up for the Rams to have any chance of competing for a Mountain West title.

CSU record prediction: 21-10 (12-6 MW)

Mountain West Player of the Year: Josh Adams (Wyoming)

MW Champions: San Diego State

Collegian Sports Desk can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @RMCollegianSpts.