Isaiah Stevens returns to CSU for one last ride


Collegian | Gregory James

Colorado State guard Isaiah Stevens waits for a play call from the bench Jan. 21. The Rams lost 58-57 to the Wyoming Cowboys to fall to 10-11 on the season

Damon Cook, Sports Editor

Editors Note: This story has been updated to include quotes from media availability.

The Colorado State University Rams won’t be without their starting point guard Isaiah Stevens this upcoming season. After declaring for the draft, while maintaining his college eligibility March 24, Stevens announced May 26 that he will be returning to play one final season for the Rams. 


Stevens will rejoin a team who added several new pieces to the roster. CSU added size and athleticism this offseason, including 6-foot-6-inch guard Nique Clifford, 6-foot-5-inch guard Cameron Lowe, 6-foot-6-inch guard Javonte Johnson and the Division II Player of the Year, 6-foot-7-inch forward Joel Scott. For a team who lost some key pieces, including arguably their second best player in John Tonje, head coach Nikko Medved and staff bolstered a roster that may have NCAA tournament potential.

“I think this is what it’s (adding players through the transfer portal) is about,” head coach Niko Medved said. “You get all these guys back in the summer and we’ve got this period, where we can really grow, connect, players learn us, but we also learn the players. Until you get them out here every day and really work with them, you don’t really know how they learn, the things that they do well, how we can help them grow, maybe some things that we’ve done in the past that we can do differently because of the players that we have and so that’s part of the fun is having that opportunity here, especially now in the summer to get the whole team here and start that process.”

The Rams had an underwhelming season last year going 15-18 overall and 6-12 in the Mountain West. Stevens was one of the bright spots for that team. Stevens made the All-Mountain West first team, the first time he’s done that in his career. He also averaged a career high 18 points and 7 assists, taking a step up from his previous year averages of 15 and 5. 

Stevens didn’t receive an invite to the NBA combine but did receive one to the NBA G-League combine. Stevens tested exceptionally well in the 11 drills he did, which measured his strength, agility and shooting abilities. Out of 44 participants, he placed inside the top 10 in all drills except for the spot up shooting drill. 

Despite Stevens’ good measurables, he didn’t receive a call up to the NBA combine. Stevens measured in sub 6’ and was one of only five players to measure in below the 6’ mark. While there has been a multitude of guards in the NBA that are sub 6’, it will make it that much more of a challenge for him to reach that level. 

“I think it’s just an understanding of where we need to get better on a day to day basis,” Stevens said. “We had some deficiencies last year, that is on the forefront of every bodies mind. We did a lot of things well, but at the same time I think if we clean up a lot of those areas I think we’ll be an even better team, especially with the young guys we’ve been able to bring in and with the transfers.”

Despite not remaining in the draft pool, Stevens will have an opportunity to enter the pool again next season after another year of college. Stevens was projected an undrafted prospect his year, but the Rams failed to make the NCAA tournament last year, which didn’t allow Stevens to showcase his game on a national stage. The Rams, however, may be looking at a bid into the tournament come March with his return. Kevin Sweeney of Sport Illustrated even called him “one of the best college point guards in the country.”

“I’m glad I don’t have to think about it (Stevens not returning to the team,” Medved said. “Obviously his presence as a player and as a person is really hard to measure, so to even think about the possibility of him not being here…so  what I know is he’s here, he’s like an extension of the coaching staff, he’s a tremendous leader, tremendous competitor.”


With much of Ram country firmly behind this team, they will be looking to improve on their previous season and will have NCAA tournament aspirations.

“Man, it’s definitely to play in March,” Stevens said on the goals of the team. “You don’t want to get looking too far down the road, those are definitely goals that we’ve set out for ourselves, but it starts in June, it starts in July. We can’t look too too far ahead and get so excited about that, that we start overlooking our day to day details, so if we take care of to do during the summer session and into the fall, I really like where we will be.”

Reach Damon Cook at or on Twitter @dwcook2001.