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Impressions from CSU’s Intrasquad Basketball Scrimmage

October 6, 2019

I’m going to keep this simple.

Seven practices into the season and it was time to showcase the team on Fall Homecoming Weekend. Coach Niko Medved has tried to schedule these types of events at previous stops and hopes to make it a staple for Ram fans. It’s a great opportunity for the players to play, the fans to see the newcomers, and especially for the fans to connect with the players and coaches post-game.

The scrimmage was a series of three 10-minute games. Players switched between green and gold practice jerseys so that the coaches could see different combinations of players together.

One of the issues with these intra-squad affairs is that the defenders know all of the offensive sets and calls and therefore can sort of cheat their way through on the defensive side. Sometimes it can lead to some great defensive plays. Other times it can lead to unnecessary gaps in the defense and lend itself to some easy buckets.

Enough of that.

The first highlight of the scrimmage came in the first segment. Nico Carvacho dribbled toward freshman John Tonje in the corner. Tonje caught his defender Kris Martin cheating toward Carvacho who looked to be setting a screen. Tonje drove baseline, rose high and dunked hard. It was the play of a seasoned veteran, not a freshman newcomer.

https://twitter.com/kevin_lytle/status/1180591884093181953?s=21

The 10-minute segment that stood out was the second one. Green team was the 5 returning players from last season – Carvacho, Adam Thistlewood, Kris Martin, Hyron Edwards, and Kendle Moore. The Gold Team consisted of the newcomers – freshmen Tonje, David Roddy, Isaiah Stevens, Dischon Thomas, and soph transfer PJ Byrd.

The newcomers ran out to a big early lead as Roddy scored from the perimeter and Tonje scored at will at the rim. Gradually the veterans began reeling their opponents in and when an unforced turnover gave them the ball inside of 20 seconds, they went to work. An Edwards miss, a rebound followed by a Thistlewood miss, followed by a Carvacho rebound, a pass to Martin who drained a perimeter three-ball to tie the game with 0.6 seconds remaining.

The mini-game went to a 1-minute overtime. Byrd drained a mid-range jumper on the first possession and when the Green team missed, they were forced to foul and the Golds put the game away at the free throw line.

The newcomers won!

Thats a big deal in and of itself because it showed they could play within the offensive and defensive structures that they are still learning. Byrd and Stevens looked confident initiating the offensive sets. Roddy and Tonje used their physical and athletic attributes well, and the freshmen bigs Thomas and Moors reasonably held their own against all-MWC big Carvacho. Thomas showed soft hands and finishing skills at the rim.

And don’t kid yourself. These freshmen knew what they were up against and played as if they expected to win. That bodes well for the future of the program.

Some other thoughts

There were a few players who I thought really helped themselves.

The first was Hyron Edwards. Uber talented but underachieving in his time at CSU, Hyron’s athleticism was on display but more importantly, his ball distribution and shooting from the guard position was on point. He has the skills to be an impact player in the MWC. I saw them yesterday.

Then there was John Tonje. I mentioned the dunk, I mentioned his ability to finish at the rim, but Tonje is also showing physicality and tenacity on the defensive end. Ive heard he didn’t have much of a reputation as a defender as a prep in Omaha, but that certainly is changing.

Then there is Isaiah Stevens. This Ram team is loaded at the point guard position with Edwards, returning starter Kendle Moore, and PJ Byrd. Frosh Stevens looked very comfortable on both ends of the floor.

There’s a month to figure out lineups and rotations.

I would love to see a lineup of Carvacho, Thistlewood, Roddy, Martin, and Edwards.

Glitterati Attendance

RamNation.com regulars in attendance included Cams Chorizo, Ram Master, Good Shepherd, and El Diablo.

There was also a visitor from Cheyenne. 6’11” big Lawson Lovering, a highly recruited big from the Class of 2021. Offers from all of the top schools in the MWC, CU, and Baylor and I’m sure there are more to come. He was in Moby watching the scrimmage with his family. I wandered over to say hello to Assistant Dave Thorson who was talking to the Lovering family at the time. I mentioned to Dave that as a booster I knew that I wasnt allowed to talk to the Loverings but I did thank them for coming to the scrimmage. He would be another nice piece to fill in the roster puzzle of the future.

I once got into trouble with the CSU Athletic Department for having a picture taken of me and potential Louisville transfer Chane Behanan and posting it on Twitter. That was a violation. I mind my P’s and Q’s these days.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fabian Family permalink
    October 7, 2019 1:25 am

    Thanks for the report Swoll! Interesting to hear about Tonje as I had wondered if he might be a redshirt candidate. Between Thomas and Moors – do they currently seem like true centers or more in the mold of stretch 4’s?

    • October 7, 2019 1:31 am

      I still think Tonje is a possible redshirt but he sure will make it hard for the staff to make that decision. As for Thomas and Moors, Moors is much more like a traditional stretch 4 that will have to learn how to play as an inside big. Thomas is kind of in between. He finishes well at the rim and does have a decent touch from the perimeter. I see Moors as a redshirt for sure and Thomas as Carvacho’s backup this season.

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