Jacobs says CSU’s 2021 heartache led to 2022 determination

Chandler Jacobs and coach Niko Medved on Senior Night.

It’s March 14, 2021. 

In Las Vegas, the Colorado State Rams are about to be heartbroken as one of the first two teams left out of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. In Ann Arbor, University of Michigan fans are ecstatic that their Big Ten regular season champions would get a No. 1 seed. 

And in Lubbock, Texas, Chandler Jacobs’ Dallas Baptist University Patriots were getting ready to play West Texas A&M in the second game of the Division II South Central Regional Tournament. 

Jacobs would score 17 points, grab 8 rebounds, dish out 8 assists and snag 4 steals. But a poor shooting day from the arc and 4 turnovers and the other teams’ firepower led to an 82-65 Patriots’ loss. The box score said the attendance was 392. 

And all that, Jacobs said, was a blessing. 

I think it’s awesome because that’s life,” said Jacobs, who averaged 20.8 points in his final season at DBU. “I think that’s a perfect picture of what life is. You know, you go through heartbreak. You go through all the emotions. 

“And they build you. They give you character, that’s the reason that we’re here today is because of that heartbreak last year. And the determination those guys felt and still feel.” 

Same game, bigger stage

No. 6-seed CSU (25-5) may have more than 392 fans in the stands against the No. 11-seeded Wolverines (17-14), who reached the Final Four last year. Gainbridge Fieldhouse seats about 18,000.  

“It’s cool seeing them celebrate because they felt the heartache,” Jacobs said of his Rams teammates. “It’s cool seeing them be so exhilarated in this moment. I’ll just fly in for the tournament. I’ll just fly in for this.” 

Former CSU assistant Blake Flickner, the coach at Dallas Baptist, told Jacobs to consider the Rams after he rescinded his commitment to Texas Tech. 

“He was like, ‘Hey, there’s a school – Colorado State that I know the guys there. I know they’re good people. If they hit you up, I think you should really listen to them,’ ” Jacobs said. “So, they hit me up and I talked to them and everything he said was true. I feel this is the perfect place for me.” 

As a role player with seven starts in 30 games, Jacobs has averaged 5.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. Jacobs knew it would be a transition. 

“I was essentially the (David) Roddy of the program. So, I was getting a lot of the looks. I was getting plays called for me,” Jacobs said. “It’s kind of been a weird adjustment. But I think it’s been one that I’ve been grateful for and one that I’ve learned so much through. 

“It’s taught me how to be a team guy. Not just be a good player but be a good team player. … I never really knew how to do that.”

‘A joy that helps our whole team’

Jacobs scored 16 against Boise State and 18 against Wyoming in key wins down the stretch. He also saved his only basket against Utah State for the game-winner in the Mountain West conference tournament. 

Teammate James Moors said Jacobs’ role is more than what he provides in his 20 minutes per game. “He’s a great player,” Moors said. “But I think the main thing he’s brought to our team is he’s such a unique, nice, genuine person. He fits in perfectly with our locker room and he just brings a joy that helps our whole team. It could be anything and he’ll help you with it.” 

Jacobs always is smiling. 

“Chandler probably knows more people around Moby (Arena) than anyone who’s been here for four years,” Moors said. “He’s an outgoing person. He loves talking to people and meeting new people.”

Chandler Jacobs playing defense.

Jacobs among a rotating cast of supporting roles

CSU coach Niko Medved said that beyond Roddy and point guard Isaiah Stevens, the Rams’ scoring has come from different directions all season. 

John Tonje scored 31 points against Oral Roberts. Dischon Thomas led the team with 14 against San Jose State. Kendle Moore scored 23 in the late regular season meeting against Utah State. 

“(Jacobs) always has got to play defense and rebound for us,” Medved said. “Some nights, it’s scoring. He’s really made some big shots and big buckets in a lot of big games this year. And who knows, it could be him on Thursday.”

Jacobs said the Dallas Baptist crew will be at his wedding and that he wouldn’t trade his four years there. 

“One thing I loved about being at a D-II (school) was that basketball was not a big deal,” he said. “I had friends who did not know I played basketball. I was just a student, but I was also good at basketball, so it worked out.” 

For his last year, Jacobs or “Uncle Chan,” thought he would be uncomfortable in Fort Collins. But he fit right in and wanted to be part of building something that hits the national stage on March 17, 2022. 

“The thing I loved about my decision to come here was I wasn’t coming here because it was a guarantee to get an NCAA Tournament berth,” Jacobs said. “I came here because I believed in the people.”