November 11, 2021
Why McKenna Hofschild and Colorado State are such a good fit
'She's our heartbeat,' Rams head coach Ryun Williams says
McKenna Hofschild seems to have found a home with Colorado State. The 5’5 junior guard was named to the preseason All-Mountain West first team after scoring 13.4 points per game, dishing out 5.4 assists per game and being named all-conference and Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore.
“It’s a super cool honor and hopefully, I can live up to that,” Hofschild said after distributing 10 assists in the Rams’ 77-42 season-opening win over Colorado Christian on Tuesday. “I think my main goal is to help this team in any way to get this conference championship and get to the [NCAA] Tournament. That’s number one what we have our eyes set on right now.”
Not only did Hofschild lead the Mountain West in assists last year, but she also ranked 19th in the nation, and the Rams were fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio.
“We’re really excited about McKenna,” 10th-year Rams head coach Ryun Williams said. “She’s our heartbeat, let’s not kid ourselves. … She is somebody who is a dynamic player, she has a great engine, so we’re excited to watch her have a really good year.”
Hofschild once scored a Minnesota state-record 63 points in a game at Prior Lake High School, just south of the Twin Cities, and multiple high-level programs recruited her. She played one season at Seton Hall, coming off the bench on a team that was destined for the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled in 2020. She mentioned that in the Big East, there are a lot of athletic players who wear each other down on a daily basis.
“I entered the transfer portal,” Hofschild added, “and my AAU coach connected me with Coach Williams, and the first time I talked to him, I knew this was a place I wanted to be. He made it feel like such a home atmosphere, and that was what I was looking for my second time around. So I never even visited Colorado State, but I knew this was the right place to come. Last year, right away, I knew I made the right choice, and now it just proves it day after day.”
Not only did she blend in well with her teammates, but she also felt more at home in Fort Collins than in New Jersey, expressing that she felt she could be more of herself in a community where it seems like everyone knows each other. She also enjoys the atmosphere of Old Town and the Horsetooth Reservoir and would like to explore more of the surrounding areas.
On the court, Hofschild said she has been trying to improve her defense and rebounding, which is difficult with her small stature.
“My biggest thing is trying to get people involved,” she added, “trying to get them in there and in their spots to be successful. I think pushing the ball—the team itself is super up-tempo. We love to play fast, get stops, get boards and go, so as a point guard, I just try to look ahead and see where the people are to get them in their spots to get their shots and get their outlets. With my shooting, I think I am a little bit off right now, but I think it will come with time, and I think continuing to be that pest on defense. I need to make up for my size somehow, so getting in [as] a defender and getting on an offense, really putting pressure on them, get some steals, some turnovers, so the team plays the way we want it to play.”
In the season opener, 10 CSU players scored and four were in double figures, something Coach Williams was very happy about. While there a number of formidable opponents on the schedule, the real test will be on Nov. 28 when No. 6 Louisville comes to Moby Arena. The Rams are seeking a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since their 31-2 season in 2016.
“The Mountain West is competitive every night,” Hofschild said, “a lot of great teams and players. The talent from top to bottom is really consistent, so it’s a high-level conference.”
Written by Scott Mammoser
Scott Mammoser has covered major international events for FIBA, World Athletics and the International Skating Union. He has been to six Olympics and traveled to more than 90 countries.