CSU basketball guard John Tonje enters transfer portal


Collegian | Gregory James

Colorado State guard John Tonje dribbles past Wyoming guard Ethan Anderson (20) Jan 21. The Rams lost 58-57 on the road to the University of Wyoming Cowboys.

Madeline Davis

Braidon Nourse, Sports Editor

John Tonje, a guard who has made a big name out of himself over the past four years playing basketball at Colorado State University, entered the transfer portal Tuesday.

The news was first broken by Verbal Commits on Twitter and later confirmed by a CSU spokesperson. Tonje, who is finishing up his senior year at CSU, has an extra year of eligibility from COVID-19 still available to use.


Tonje had to work from the ground up to make a career at Colorado State. He joined the program in 2019 with the same class as other Ram greats like current Memphis Grizzlies forward David Roddy and current All-Mountain West Conference First Team member Isaiah Stevens.

“It’s unclear who else will enter the portal and when, but it’s likely that more will join Tonje in the portal in the weeks and months to come.”

Tonje was not a starter in his first year and only averaged 8 1/2 minutes per game to go along with just under 4 points per game. He didn’t get his first start until about the midpoint of his sophomore season but grew into a solid bench option with over 20 minutes and just under 7 points per game.

He began his junior year in November 2021 with a scoring explosion against Oral Roberts University. He scored 31 points, which is still his career high, and would fight his way into a nightly starting job later in the season. This season, he started all 33 games he played and averaged 15 points, five rebounds and an assist.

In what was likely Tonje’s last game at Colorado State, he was a major piece in what was nearly a major upset in the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals against San Diego State University. He led all scorers in that game with 17 points, including 11 of the Rams’ first 15 points.

The recruiting class of Tonje and Stevens was head coach Niko Medved’s second recruiting class of his tenure at CSU but ended up being arguably his best. After Tonje’s departure, the only player left on the roster from that recruiting class that still has eligibility is Stevens.

Though Tonje is the only Ram to enter the portal so far this offseason, he’s possibly just the first domino to fall. It’s unclear who else will enter the portal and when, but it’s likely that more will join Tonje in the portal in the weeks and months to come.

The big question mark that still remains is what Stevens will decide to do with his extra year of eligibility. With his extensive list of accolades, he has plenty of choices on what to do next. He can use his eligibility — with CSU or elsewhere — or he can forego his fifth year and test professional waters in the NBA or overseas.

For now, Medved and his staff can only focus on the things they can control — recruitment. The team has had two commitments so far for this upcoming year in Kyan Evans and Rashaan Mbemba.


Evans is coming from Staley High School in Kansas City, Missouri. He recently won the 2022-23 Class 6 State Championship and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Missouri. Mbemba currently plays for SKN St. Pölten in Austria.

Reach Braidon Nourse at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @BraidonNourse.