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No. 4: CSU basketball greats carve their legacy

Colorado+State+University+guard+McKenna+Hofschild+runs+down+the+court+during+the+Mountain+West+womens+basketball+championship+quarterfinal+game+of+CSU+against+the+University+of+Nevada%2C+Las+Vegas+March+12.+The+Rams+lost+62-52.
Collegian | Emma Askren
Colorado State University guard McKenna Hofschild runs down the court during the Mountain West women’s basketball championship quarterfinal game of CSU against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas March 12. The Rams lost 62-52.

Lucky No. 4 is a common theme across both men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Isaiah Stevens and McKenna Hofschild both wear No. 4 on the backs of their Colorado State jerseys. Both Stevens and Hofschild are regarded as some of the best basketball talents to play in Moby Arena since Becky Hammon.

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Stevens committed to Colorado State while attending Allen High School in Allen, Texas. He had an impressive career during high school, averaging 21 points per game and shooting 90% from the free-throw line. 

Stevens made an immediate impact on the Colorado State roster during his freshman year, when he started all 32 games that season. Stevens set the freshman record for total points scored in a single season with 144, and he tied the school record for most assists in one game with 12 assists during a triple-overtime win.

Through the rest of his undergraduate career, Stevens became CSU’s all-time leader in assists, and he was also ranked sixth in the nation in his assist-to-turnover ratio and fourth in the nation in assists per game.

Not only was Stevens creating opportunities for other players to score during his time at CSU, but he was also a crucial playmaker himself. In his senior season, he was second on the team in points and led the team in points per game at 17.9. The legacy he will leave is immeasurable.

“Hopefully (it’s) one that contributes a lot of wins,” Stevens said. “Just being a good person, a good teammate, someone that they wanted to come out to Moby to see on a nightly basis.”

A player of this caliber at Colorado State hasn’t been seen since Hammon played for the Rams. Even on the men’s side, former CSU forward David Roddy, who now plays in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns, didn’t meet the dominance of Hammon.

For nearly 20 years, Ram fans had been deprived of a special kind of basketball, but with four years of Hofschild and five years of Stevens, CSU has been blessed with an era of legends.

On the women’s side of the ball, Hofschild is commonly regarded as one of the best players to come to the Rams. Back home in Minnesota, she set Prior Lake High School records for single-season and game-scoring records as well as career scoring records.

After she graduated high school, Hofschild committed to play basketball at Seton Hall. However, at Seton Hall, she wasn’t able to get much playing time, only averaging 8.4 minutes per game, and ultimately announced her transfer to Colorado State. For the remainder of her undergraduate career, she proved to be an unstoppable playmaker for the Rams.

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Hofschild started every single game while at Colorado State except the last game of her senior season. She led the team in scoring for her junior and senior years but was also a huge playmaker for other players. Hofschild was second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio during her senior year.

During an emotional loss that ended the women’s basketball postseason run, Hofschild said she wants her legacy to be remembered as one of a winner. For Marta Leimane, a sophomore on the team, playing with Hofschild is something she will always appreciate.

“I’m incredibly proud of her and everyone (on the team) I’ve met,” Leimane said. “I really appreciate what basketball has given me here at CSU, and I’m happy to learn from someone that good, and … I hope we take something from that.”

All of this to say both Stevens and Hofschild have left an undeniable mark on the Rams’ basketball history. For fans, too, that mark is cemented into Colorado State’s legacy — or at least they hope.

Players of this caliber are difficult to find, especially for schools that don’t have the name recognition that perhaps Iowa does with Caitlin Clark or maybe Kentucky does with Rob Dillingham. Colorado State gained that name recognition, though, in Stevens and Hofschild.

While the basketball greatness in both players is unique, their impact on the Fort Collins community is special, too. Stevens especially wants his legacy to be remembered for his off-court impact as well.

“(I’m) somebody that (fans) hope their kids can try to model themselves after,” Stevens said. “Someone to just be like and be a role model in the community.”

Colorado State and the surrounding community of Fort Collins have united on several occasions during sporting events. From Fight Like a Ram to Education Day, the impact that CSU basketball has left on the community is remarkable. 

Especially for coach Ryun Williams, the legacy Hofschild has left is one of a kind.

“What this young lady has done for the Mountain West basketball and for Colorado State basketball — it’s probably going to go unmatched,” Williams said. “Her career is nothing short of remarkable.”

While the men’s side of the ball is still being played in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the NCAA tournament, the women’s side is done. Fans can take the time to watch Stevens play his last games for the green and gold because like what was seen on Hofschild’s end, all good things don’t last forever.

Reach Emma Askren at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @emma_askren.

Interested in more sports content? Sign up for Ram Report here for weekly CSU sports updates!

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About the Contributor
Emma Askren
Emma Askren, Sports Editor
Emma Askren, alongside Damon Cook, is the fall 2023 sports editor for The Collegian. She began working at The Collegian during her first year in the fall of 2022, when she covered the swim and dive team as well as anything sports-related. She is currently a sophomore at Colorado State University, where she is majoring in journalism and media communication and double minoring in Spanish and sports management. During her first year, she joined the rowing team, began working as a reporter for The Collegian and working at the Student Recreation Center. Askren applied to CSU as a journalism major, knowing she wanted to combine her passion for sports and writing to create a fulfilling career. Upon realizing that Rocky Mountain Student Media was hiring for first-years, she jumped at the opportunity to become a writer for The Collegian. While working for the sports desk, Askren has had the opportunity to write about hockey, logging, whitewater rafting and the importance of women in sports. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, she seeks to break the status quo and become a successful sports journalist following graduation. Following a year as a sports reporter, Askren became a co-editor for the sports desk alongside Cook. Together the duo seeks to create a new and improved sports desk that caters to all readers of The Collegian and beyond.

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