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“There’s Only One Way To Get Experience and That’s To Get Experience”

November 10, 2022

If you watched Coach Niko Medved’s post Gardner Webb game presser, you would have heard him say this. And no truer words have been spoken.

There’s another expression you hear coaches around the college game use – “Get older, get better.” Its a strategy that have worked in the past for programs with strong LDS roots like BYU and Utah State. More recently, it’s a strategy that have been adopted by many D-1 programs.

With Fourth-year guard Isaiah Stevens out with injury and Fifth-year transfer guard Josiah Strong out with illness, CSU had a ton of experience on the bench. In their places, the Rams played Baylor Hebb for 20 minutes and Tavi Jackson for 26 minutes. Hebb had played a grand total of 142 minutes against Division 1 opponents in his previous two seasons. Jackson was making his Division 1 debut.

To add a little perspective, the opposing guards from Gardner Webb had either two or three seasons under their belts, averaging about 25 minutes per game in those season. Overall, Gardner Webb put a team on the floor that was the 89th most experienced D-1 team in the nation, averaging 2.15 years of experience.

And to give a little perspective how CSU compares to that, the Rams averaged 1.15 years of experience which ranks them 228th in the country.

To add another layer, here’s how fellow MWC teams looked in terms of experience on Opening Night:

SchoolNational RankExperience
Utah State212.81
San Diego State252.75
UNLV422.53
New Mexico702.35
Nevada972.10
San Jose State1072.02
Air Force2191.30
Experience – Source Kenpom.com

Since Wyoming and Fresno State opened with non D-1 opponents, there is no data. Boise State opens tonight.

So you can see that given the current situation, Colorado State is the least experienced team in the Mountain West and well into the bottom half of the country.

Of course that changes dramatically when Stevens and Strong return. We’ll probably see a number more in the 2.5 range which puts them into the middle of the pack at the conference level and roughly into the Top 75.

So what we’re looking at is a short term challenge with a long term benefit. Jackson and Hebb get loads of playing time in the short term which can only strengthen the team when Stevens and Strong return.

They’re out there getting experience.

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