The race for the Mountain West Conference title appeared to be wide open in 2016-17, and the Colorado State Rams had the look of a team who could very well represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament come March.
After Tuesday’s news, the road to the field of 68 just got a lot tougher for the Rams.
It was announced that three of the Rams’ key players had been deemed ineligible for the second semester due to poor grades. Juniors Che Bob, Devocio Butler, and Kimani Jackson will all miss the remainder of the year after failing to meet the minimum grade-point averages in their fall semester classes.
Bob and Butler were in their first years with the program, while Jackson was in his second season with the Rams. Both Bob (South Plains College) and Butler (Hill (TX) College) were highly-touted recruits from the JUCO ranks coming into the season.
All three players provided depth to the roster for head coach Larry Eustachy. Bob sat fourth on the team in scoring. averaging 9.1 points per game to go along with 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.
Butler was averaging 6.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest, while Jackson chipped in with 4.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
“This is disappointing for our entire program, especially the players still competing on the court,” said Eustachy in a statement regarding the news. “Our top priority is to educate, and we will continue to emphasize this in all that we do.”
Eustachy added that, although it is a hard lesson, the program will continue to provide the players access to the necessary resources that will allow for them to excel in the classroom, and ultimately graduate from Colorado State University.
He is optimistic that the players can meet the classroom requirements and regain their eligibility in the fall for their senior seasons in 2017-18.
With all three players standing at 6’5” or taller, size for the Rams took a big hit with Tuesday’s news. Look for Nico Carvacho (5.5p, 4.3r) to see an increase in his playing time moving forwards.
The Rams currently sit at 9-6 overall, and 1-1 in conference play. They take on the San Jose State Spartans on Wednesday night.
– T. Bennett