Chalk another one up for Larry Eustachy. CSU's head basketball coach added another junior college transfer to their 2017 class over the weekend when Cape Fear C.C. (N.C.) power forward Alonzo Tyson committed to Colorado State during his official visit in Fort Collins.
Tyson, a 6-foot-10, 200-pound athletic big man, picked CSU over offers from Georgia Southern, High Point, Kansas State, Nevada, Old Dominion, VCU, and Virginia Tech. He previously took an official visit to Georgia Southern.
"I really like the coaches and their staff. I really feel like I could fit in with the team," Tyson told Inside The Rams on his decision to commit. "The highlights of the trip were open gym, the campus and their gym."
Future front court teammate Nico Carvacho served as his player host.
"My time was unbelievable up there. I really liked it," Tyson added. "We did everything that I really imagined that I could do in Colorado. I feel like we just bonded together, as most teams, you go in as a recruit and you really can't bond with the team because you really don't know them. But I felt like I already knew them at Colorado State."
CSU has rather suddenly become active in pursuing front court playmakers who can immediately impact the team next season. With the graduation of first team all-Mountain West big man Emmanuel Omogbo, the transfer of Braden Koelliker and potential shuffling within their current roster, the Rams have targeted several junior college bigs of late. Tyson was one of them, along with Division II Player of the Year Deion James, ISA (Fla.) forwards Logan Ryan and Michael Diggins, Jr., and wing Roberto Gittens, among others.
Tyson was a priority target for the Rams for several reasons. CSU lacked front court depth, and Tyson certainly gives them a capable contributor on both ends of the floor. He could potentially start alongside Carvacho, or be a top option off the bench. In the least, he will protect the paint and could become the next great rebounding big for Eustachy. Tyson is an efficient scorer, getting most of his baskets on put backs, off pick and rolls, lobs, and with his back to the hoop.
The North Carolina native, who played his prep ball at Trinity Christian, averaged 14.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game as a sophomore for Cape Fear in 2016-2017. He shot a school record 65.2 percent from the field, which also ranked third in all of NJCAA, and was 68.3 precent from the free throw line. His efforts earned first team NJCAA Region 10 honors this past season.
The Rams began recruiting Tyson in February and extended an offer last month. Rams assistant Jase Herl recruited Tyson heavily and a strong connection between the two played a big role in CSU landing Tyson.
"I felt like he was a dad to me," Tyson said of Herl. "He looked after me and made sure I was good when I was up there."
The plan, Tyson said, is for him to come in and immediately contribute as an experienced college big man. With three years to play two, the expectation is for Tyson to be a major contributor in his final two seasons of college basketball.
"They were telling me that I could fit in with the team," Tyson said of his conversations with CSU's staff. "They were telling me that they really like my game. The way I play my game is the way they have their offense set up. They just told me that I could come in and produce right away."
Tyson has signed his financial aid paperwork and will arrive in Fort Collins this summer for summer school. For the time being, CSU has reached its maximum scholarship allotment of 13 players, but that number could change depending on any upcoming attrition.
What should CSU fans expect from the Rams' newest junior college addition next season?
"I think I'll bring my athleticism and my shot blocking. I'm really enthusiastic. I really think I can come in and produce, and really be a great part of the team."