How Adam Thistlewood proved he is the future of the program in a game he finished scoreless

LAS VEGAS - Adam Thistlewood had to hold back tears as the media swarmed the freshman forward outside of the Colorado State locker room on Wednesday.

After finishing 0-of-8 from the field in a 66-57 loss to Boise State, the young hoopster from Golden, Colo., felt like he let his teammates down in the biggest game of the season. Ironically, the 18-year-old proved exactly why is the future of the program.

“It’s my first tournament and it sucks to go out in the first round—but I obviously didn’t shoot well and it hurt me a lot,” Thistlewood said postgame.

Basketball is a fickle game and there are going to be tough moments. Honestly, the only guarantee on the hardwood is that one team leaves a winner and the other, a loser. But in those hard times, we often learn more about an individual’s character than when things are going well.

“I don’t ever like to see a player hurting, but I love to see that because I love to see the passion and somebody caring so much about what we’re doing,” Medved said. “When you get people that are invested like that and we continue to do that, that’s when great things happen.”

It’s not hard to commit wholeheartedly when the team is winning and skies are blue. In the midst of a four-game losing streak and arguably the worst performance of his career though, it would have been really easy for Thistlewood to fold under the bright lights and call it a season.

It would have been even easier to hide in the locker room after the tough loss and avoid the media’s questioning altogether. Thistlewood, instead, stood tall and embraced the situation head-on. Much like he has throughout his impressive freshman campaign, Thistlewood proved to be more mature than his age would indicate.

The truth is not all players can accept accountability, especially ones that cannot legally drink a beer. Thistlewood is not your average freshman though—he’s a grinder. So while most inexperienced players would have hung their heads and sulked, it should come as no surprise that Thistlewood was transparent about his own struggles.

“I’ll be in the weight room for the next year,” Thistlewood said. “I’m pretty upset with how I played today and I’m definitely going to focus on it during the offseason.”

With Thistlewood and Kendle Moore each returning next season after logging a combined 56 starts as true freshman, the Rams are bound to benefit from the up-and-down 2018-19 campaign.

“We’ve rolled with them all year and they’ve played so well in so many critical situations,” Medved said. “So, hey, it wasn’t their day today. Give the opponent credit. But trust me, those two guys will be back.”

The growth that these young players displayed throughout this season has been monumental and their maturity has never been a question. So, if Ram fans take anything away from this season, it should be that the future is bright with the duo of Moore and Thistlewood leading the way. As Medved explained after the game, there were a lot of things that didn’t go CSU’s way this season, but there were also plenty of indicators of improvement. The only thing to do now is continue building off the positives.

“I think what you try to build on is you try to build on the positive, and you try to build on some of these guys who I think have really grown, trying to buy into our system of the way we want to do things,” Medved said.

“…We’ve got a long ways to go to get to where we want, but I think it’s starting to build with the positives.”