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Finishing strong: Patrick Cartier chases dreams at CSU

Patrick+Cartier+gives+a+handshake+to+a+young+fan+after+the+Colorado+State+University+mens+basketball+game+against+Boise+State+University+Feb.+6.+CSU+won+75-62.
Collegian | Ava Puglisi
Patrick Cartier gives a handshake to a young fan after the Colorado State University men’s basketball game against Boise State University Feb. 6. CSU won 75-62.

While Patrick Cartier is only listed at 6-foot-8-inch, it’s certainly hard to tell just by watching him play.

Cartier definitely isn’t the tallest and often faces a size mismatch down low; however, the Colorado State forward plays larger than his height.

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The de facto five for the Rams has been a tremendous part of CSU men’s basketball in their record-breaking season.

“He’s got a tremendous IQ,” coach Niko Medved said. “He’s incredibly smart, intuitive, and he’s tough. He’s a competitor, he’s tough, he’s strong. … He knows who he is, and he knows who he’s not. He’d be the first to tell you he’s undersized and not the most athletic. He knows that. That allows him to buy into: He’s smarter, he understands angles and he’s got a tremendous amount of toughness.”

“Blue-collar work ethic”: That’s the way Medved described how hard Cartier works to be the player he has become. 

While Cartier acknowledged how hard he has worked over his career, it is certainly easier when a positive culture has been set by the entire team.

“Obviously, as a kid, you grow up filling out the brackets and watching Cinderella runs and doing that whole thing.” –Patrick Cartier, men’s basketball forward

“I think that’s something that I have, but I think that’s something that this whole team has as well,” Cartier said. “We have a great culture of just guys being in the gym all the time, working on things — whether that’s in the weight room or on the court or, in my case, conditioning and stuff like that.”

When Cartier is on the court, he’s never too high or too down. He’s always locked into the game and competing at a high level. 

The leadership and composure he shows on the court have seamlessly translated off the court as well.

“He’s a great dude, a great leader; he’s always in a good mood — even when he’s not in a good mood, he doesn’t show it to us,” guard Josiah Strong said. “He’s one of those guys that whenever you’re around him, you know he’s genuine, which goes a long way. And what you see on the court as a player is who he is as a person. He’s just a great guy all around.”

Cartier flashed glimpses of excellence immediately last season after transferring in from Hillsdale College

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It wasn’t until the Rams’ game against Northern Colorado Dec. 3, 2022, that Cartier truly showed the CSU faithful his potential by dropping 23 points in just 22 minutes on 10-of-15 shooting, including being 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

“Last year he came in, and you could tell it was a little bit of a jump at first,” Strong said. “He blended in right away with what we do. Obviously, I was new too, so we were both kind of learning at the same time, but this year, you can definitely see that he stepped up into more of a leadership role. He’s way more comfortable with everything. He’s been through the (conference). He’s respected more.”

He’s certainly earned that respect, especially this season, when he is averaging 11.9 points on incredible efficiency.

Now Cartier has the opportunity and will likely be one of the leading players on an NCAA tournament team. While there is still a lot of basketball to be played, what’s the point if you’re not chasing your dreams?

“Obviously, as a kid, you grow up filling out the brackets and watching Cinderella runs and doing that whole thing,” Cartier said. “And to be able to be a part of that would obviously be a blessing. I think it’s cool to have that perspective. Coach said the other day, ‘We’re in position to be in position.’ So you’ve got to stay in the moment and just take it one practice, one game at a time. Again, cliche, but very true.”

Being in that position certainly means a lot. 

But to do so in front of the people who cheer Cartier on must mean that much more. After all, they’re kind of the entire reason he came to CSU. 

“I’m big about obviously all that other stuff like the new locker room and being in Fort Collins — all that stuff is really cool,” Cartier said. “It’s kind of just added plusses to me, but I’m about people. My old school, Hillsdale College, is kind of in the middle of nowhere. It’s 10,000 people in the city; it’s tiny, but we had great people, a great culture, and that’s what is important to me. So I was looking for that and all that other stuff that comes with Fort Collins and communities.”

The CSU community has gotten behind Cartier and this team in immense fashion this season. 

They have created some special atmospheres, which Cartier will certainly remember well beyond his departure from CSU. 

“Obviously, I’m a little biased, but (Moby) is definitely my favorite arena in the Mountain West,” Cartier said. “And it’s a special place, especially with all the fans and the student turnout. It’s been pretty unreal. It’s very special.”

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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About the Contributor
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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