Overreacting to Rams’ lone exhibition victory

Mack Beaulieu

Following an 87-67 rout by Colorado State men’s basketball over Colorado State-Pueblo, fans and media alike are developing opinions of the team. 

Those opinions, rational or otherwise, are going to shape how the team is viewed throughout the year. Ahead are three overreactions from the first game, right or wrong.

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Kendle Moore: Freshman of the year

Freshman Kendle Moore was electric at times in his first game as a Ram, pulling up from three with confidence, showing grace around the hoop and finishing through contact. The 5-foot-10-inch guard will have the ball in his hands enough to put up at least 15 points per game and lead the Rams’ assists as well. His biggest competition is McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown from the University of Nevada, who will be overshadowed by his teammates to compete for the award. 

Guard Kendle Moore drives the ball during the exhibition game versus CSU Pueblo on Sat. Nov. 3. (Natalie Dyer | Collegian)

In reality, I do not think anybody that saw the exhibition against the Thunderwolves would doubt Moore’s ability to score around ten or 12 points a game and be a key contributor on offense. But it’s unlikely that Moore finishes as easily against higher competition. The Rams are lacking distributors at this point and Moore scored more in high school.

If the exhibition is any indication, there will be enough on his plate this season to earn heavy scrutiny or heavy praise.

Zo Tyson will average less than five minutes per game

Redshirt junior Zo Tyson came in for three minutes and earned three fouls. Not great.

A former junior college transfer, Tyson is still much too raw to make a consistent impact in the Mountain West. The big man was the only player for the Rams to post a negative plus/minus in the game, due in large part to those fouls along with a turnover.

In reality, the Rams need Tyson to stay in games and be a presence on the boards as well as in the paint defensively. That’s why he was recruited. The Rams seemed to be decent at team rebounding in their first game, but there will be many teams that the Rams struggle to rebound against if their only other true big man outside of fellow redshirt junior Nico Carvacho can’t stay on the floor.

The Rams also only blocked one shot in their game against the Thunderwolves. They did hold their opponent to a 35 percent shooting mark inside the arc, but the Rams will need more of a lane presence against better opponents.

The Rams will have five players average double-digit scoring

The Rams had four players in double digits and six who scored over eight points in their exhibition win.

With Carvacho not finishing particularly well in the first half, the team was still able to score with regularity and put up a 58 percent mark from the field in the first half. Moore is clearly going to do his thing, Carvacho and redshirt senior J.D. Paige are locks for the accolade. Along with them, redshirt junior Anthony Bonner should improve, and fellow redshirt junior Kris Martin should at least average double digits (following his five-game suspension). 

Guard J.D. Paige shoots the ball during the exhibition game versus CSU Pueblo on Sat. Nov. 3. (Natalie Dyer | Collegian)

In reality, the Rams should have an offense that attacks from every position, but the consistency at this point is a question.

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Carvacho is going to have huge double-doubles and looks to be the focal point of the offense, but he hasn’t put up big scoring numbers consistently. Martin and Paige look to be obvious contenders to be in double digits, because of experience and the simple fact that somebody has to score, but neither are definite go-to guys.

Furthermore, Moore will have the ball in his hands often and Bonner will be encouraged to shoot more in Niko Medved’s high-paced offense.

If the exhibition is any indication, with presumed starters playing heavy minutes, the Rams will mainly run seven-to-eight player rotations. Until someone proves themselves a dominant scorer, the Rams will score by committee and they look fairly well equipped to do so.

Mack Beaulieu can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Mack_Covers.