Chandler Jacobs makes impact in lone season at CSU

It is the desire to authentically interact with and understand his peers that has endeared Jacobs to the Rams fanbase.

Madeline Davis

Colorado+State+University+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+guard%2C+Chandler+Jacobs+%2813%29+in+the+locker+room+in+Moby+arena+in+Fort+Collins%2C+CO

Collegian | Milo Gladstein

Colorado State University men’s basketball guard Chandler Jacobs (13) sits in the locker room in Moby Arena in Fort Collins March 2. “I had a decision to make whether I was going to play professionally, whether I was going to return to the (Dallas Baptist University) or go to Division I,” Jacobs said. “After talking to my family, I decided I wanted to go to Division I and get this opportunity to possibly play in March Madness.”

At some point last Wednesday night in Moby Arena, it suddenly dawned on me that I was sitting at half court blabbering to Colorado State University basketball player Chandler Jacobs about the best R&B artists of all time. Prior to talking about music, Jacobs had just endured an hour of both on-camera and off-camera interviews.

Instead of booking it out of Moby immediately when the cameras stopped rolling, Jacobs hung around and talked with the media members. The man who just spent over an hour being interviewed was miraculously not sick of talking to us and was now asking us questions.

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It is this desire to authentically interact with and understand his peers that has endeared Jacobs to the Rams fanbase, doing so in an impressively short period of time.

Before coming to CSU, Jacobs starred at Division II Dallas Baptist University. He initially planned on playing his last eligible season of collegiate basketball at Texas Tech University. However, after committing to Texas Tech, the Houston native found himself conflicted with his decision.

“The Texas Tech decision was definitely premature,” Jacobs said. “It just weighed on my heart really heavily. … Being from Texas and going to Texas Tech — it’s a very cool thing. For me, there was a lot of pressure, and it wasn’t the decision I wanted to make.”

It was during this time of uncertainty that a friendship and brotherhood with CSU basketball assistant coach Ali Farokhmanesh began to solidify. Jacob credits Farokhmanesh as his biggest influence in his decision to attend Colorado State.

“It’s hard to find somebody who is authentically themselves, and I think that is something that I’ve been able to do and that I take pride in being able to do. … I think that’s the biggest impact that I’ve had, and that’s the biggest impact that I’ve always wanted to have.” -Chandler Jacobs, CSU basketball player

Colorado State University men’s basketball guard, Chandler Jacobs (13) in the locker room in Moby arena in Fort Collins, CO
Colorado State University men’s basketball guard Chandler Jacobs (13) sits in Moby Arena in Fort Collins March 2. 
(Collegian | Milo Gladstein)

“Once I decommitted (from Texas Tech) and put the post on Instagram detailing what I was going through at the time, Ali (Farokhmanesh) texted me and said, ‘I saw your message and just wanted to make sure you were OK and just check on you,’” Jacobs said. “From that point on, I knew this was the kind of environment I wanted to be in. … I feel like he’s one of the few coaches in my life that I’ve been able to have a very candid conversation with.”

Still, the transition to playing at the Division I level hasn’t been without challenges for Jacobs. While his talent is unquestioned, adjusting from playing 36 minutes per game his last year at Dallas Baptist to serving as a role player for CSU took some getting used to.

Combine this with a new environment and having to build camaraderie with teammates, and it begins to seem understandably overwhelming. Thankfully, this team fosters the exact type of environment that Farokhmanesh had discussed with Jacobs during his recruitment.

“The thing I’ve loved about coming here is that everybody is themselves,” Jacobs said. “I think that creates unity because people are not coming around trying to impress anyone, and you’re not coming around trying to be somebody you’re not; you’re just being yourself.”

After a period of acclimation to head coach Niko Medved’s game plan and some encouraging conversations with Farokhmanesh, Jacobs has emerged as a spark plug on both sides of the ball for the Rams. Despite a relatively quiet season statistically, Jacobs seems to show up for CSU when they need him most.

In CSU’s Feb. 13 game against Boise State University, Jacobs finished the game with 16 points and seven rebounds. He shined late in the game and into overtime, leading the Rams to a 77-74 victory over the Broncos. Three games later, Jacobs made a season-high 18 points, taking down the University of Wyoming in a crucial Mountain West Conference matchup.

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While Jacobs’ impact on the court has played a large role in the Rams’ success this season, his affinity for connecting with people off the court is what resonates with Ram fans. Whether it’s personally thanking fans at Moby Arena, playing rock paper scissors with the student section or donning cancer survivor Rebecca Steiner’s name on his jersey, he is always going the extra mile to bond with others.

“I just love human interaction,” Jacobs said. “I love the people that I do life with everyday. My teammates, my coaches, the small interactions that I have (in) Moby and on campus — they just mean the world to me.”

Colorado State University men’s basketball guard, Chandler Jacobs (13) in the locker room in Moby arena in Fort Collins, CO
Colorado State University men’s basketball guard Chandler Jacobs (13) smiles in the locker room in Moby Arena in Fort Collins March 2. (Collegian | Milo Gladstein)

After this season ends, Jacobs is uncertain about what comes next. However, the possibilities are endless for him. While professional basketball will certainly be an option, his ability to bring out the best and most authentic version of someone has him thinking about other career paths as well.

“Something I think I really want to do is sports psychology,” Jacobs said. “I think that the sports world, if you allow it to, will make you lose sight of who you are. A big core value for me is allowing people to feel seen and feel loved, and I think that maybe becoming a sports psychologist is something that could help me do that — … something where I can validate what people feel and what they’re going through and make them feel important.”

In his first and only season at CSU, Jacobs has won over the fanbase in a way that most collegiate athletes only dream of doing. He will play a crucial part for the Rams in March and will continue to serve as the steady drumbeat for the Rams, who are ready for the big dance. No matter how or when the season ends, Jacobs will depart Colorado State having left the program and its supporters in a more positive place.

“It’s hard to find somebody who is authentically themselves, and I think that is something that I’ve been able to do and that I take pride in being able to do,” Jacobs said. “I think that’s the biggest impact that I’ve had, and that’s the biggest impact that I’ve always wanted to have.”

“Coupled with just loving people and caring for people, doing little things like bringing Rebecca (Steiner) flowers or interacting with fans after games or taking pictures — … I love that,” Jacobs said.

Reach Jeremiah Janzen at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @JeremiahJanzen.