LARAMIE, Wyo. — Niko Medved vividly remembers the conversation.
The coach and the future star point guard were at lunch the fall of 2019.
Sitting at a table at Tokyo Joe’s, Medved looked Isaiah Stevens in the eye and dropped the big news to the freshman.
“I said ‘alright, I’m going to tell you something here. You’re going to be my starting point guard and I intend it to be that way for the rest of your career,’” Medved said. “He’s like ‘oh wow’ and I said ‘you’re ready for it. I trust you explicitly. Let’s go do this.’ That’s exactly what’s happened.”
It’s now more than 100 games later and exactly what Medved foresaw has happened.
Stevens recorded two assists early in Saturday’s game at Wyoming to break Ryan Yoder’s nearly 30-year-old record for career assists at CSU. His tying assist found Patrick Cartier on drive to the basket and the record-breaker was a kick for a John Tonje 3-pointer.
He’s now at 531 and counting.
It was around the same time that Medved told Stevens he would start right away that the kid from Allen, Texas set his sights on Yoder.
He knew scoring and defense could be slower to translate from high school to college — Stevens calls himself “just a regular dude” as an athlete when clearly he’s more than that — but he was sure he could see the court and pass at a college level.
“I’ve been in pursuit of the record for a long time. I’ve known about the numbers, but kind of as years start to go by and numbers go up you start realizing that ‘OK, I need ‘X’ amount over the year’ and keep on chipping away at the end of it,” Stevens said.
“I always felt passing was an ability I could translate right away to the college level.”
When asked if he remembers his first assist as a Ram he chuckles and says “it took awhile.” He didn’t remember the specifics of the first assist, but knew it was several games into his career.
Sure enough, his first two games were without an assist. He even remembers assistant coaches Ali Farokhmanesh and J.R. Blount telling him he’s not being aggressive enough if he’s not getting assists. The first one came early in Game 3, a pass for and Adam Thistlewood 3-pointer.
Saturday was his 105th career game at CSU and after those two early zeroes, he’s only had five assist-less games.
Stevens and Yoder have a friendly relationship and Stevens credits him for his support. Yoder set the mark from 1990-94, holding it for 29 years. Yoder still holds the career assists per game record at 5.2 (Stevens is at 5.1) and the single-season high-water mark of 204.
“I would like to put up a number that exceeds that,” Stevens said with a laugh.
It’s a team accomplishment for Stevens, who says it’s the top achievement of his career.
“This is probably No. 1. Assist record has been on my mind since I stepped into Fort Collins as an 18-year-old kid,” Stevens said.
“Definitely want to push it out there. And hopefully somebody else is able to come through and not only look up to myself, but Ryan as well.”
This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Colorado State basketball player Isaiah Stevens breaks career assist record