Several eager days of waiting turned into a huge sigh of relief for Colorado State fans Monday afternoon when head coach Larry Eustachy announced the signing of highly-touted guard Carlton Hurst.
Hurst, who held an official Signing Day ceremony at Aurora Central High School on Wednesday afternoon, had faxed in his paperwork that day. But after a few "i"s were dotted and "t"s were crossed, Hurst is now officially a member of the Rams' Class of 2013.
"Carlton is the best player in his class in the state of Colorado," Eustachy said matter-of-factly in a university press release Monday. "He has tremendous athletic ability and an innate know-how when it comes to scoring the basketball."
At Aurora Central, the three-star rated guard averaged 27 points and nine rebounds as a sophomore and 23 points, 10 boards, 5.4 assists, and four steals as a junior. He had similar numbers with his AAU team (Colorado Chaos) over the summer, collecting around 26 points, six assists and nine rebounds per contest.
His 23 points per game last season were good enough for second in class 5A. Over his past two seasons, he has accounted for 26 double-doubles and three triple-doubles.
"It is important to us that the top players from the state of Colorado want to compete at Colorado State," Eustachy added. "Carlton will bring a high level of athleticism and scoring ability to our program."
Prior to committing to CSU the first week of October, Hurst had narrowed down his choices to Colorado State, Saint Mary's and Wyoming. He had taken several unofficial visits to each school, but ultimately decided that CSU encompassed everything he desired in a school.
"I think it was a perfect fit," Hurst told GoldandGreenNews.com following his commitment. "It's a good environment, good people around, good coaches, a good staff… It just felt right."
The lefty scoring machine also picked up offers from New Mexico, Buffalo and Pepperdine earlier in his recruitment.
While a solid relationship was quickly built with Eustachy upon his arrival to CSU, over a period of two years Hurst built a close relationship with Rams assistant Niko Medved, who recruited Hurst under Tim Miles and continued the process through the hiring of Eustachy.
Ultimately, the 6-foot-2 Hurst said it was his relationship with Eustachy and Medved, CSU's location to home, the academics it offered, and his closeness with the program that sold him on his commitment.
Hurst joins fellow three-star Marcus Holt, a power forward that is also an Aurora native, and standout Elmhurst, Illinois combo guard David Cohn as the three early signees for Colorado State's Class of 2013. The Rams are expecting to sign at least two more players in the spring. That number could grow to three if senior guard Jesse Carr is not granted a medical redshirt for next season.
Based on the heavy recruitment of each player and the number of quality offers obtained alone, this year's class is already turning into arguably one of the best classes CSU has ever signed. All three playmakers are expected to step in immediately in their first year and provide immediate impacts.
Hurst and Cohn look to provide a very athletic and potent scoring combination alongside fellow backcourt returnees Jonathan Octeus and Daniel Bejarano, while Holt and Gerson Santo should form one of the league's most athletic frontcourts.
So while next year will certainly be considered a rebuilding year in Eustachy's second season in Fort Collins, Rams fans have a lot to look forward to from a talent standpoint.
Ryan Krous is the publisher of GoldandGreenNews.com. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @RyanKrous for all the latest and breaking Colorado State news.
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