2012-2013 Overall Rank: #60
Conference Rank: #6 Pac-12
Colorado Team Page
Coach Tad Boyle quickly took Colorado back to where they have not been for quite some time. The Buffaloes had a magical 2011-2012 campaign, ending with a Pac-12 Tournament title and a victory over UNLV in the NCAA Tournament. The future is extremely bright as Coach Boyle has brought in a superb, and large, recruiting class. However, this group does lose three starters and youth could be an issue that catches up with the Buffaloes sooner or later.
2011-12 Record: 24-12, 11-7
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tad Boyle
Coach Record: 48-26 at Colorado, 104-92 overall
While the incoming and returning players can pick up the production lost, the leadership of Carlon Brown, Nate Tomlinson and Austin Dufault will be missed. Brown was the go-to-scorer on the perimeter and led CU with 12.6 points during his senior season after transferring in from Utah. Brown was more consistent in Boulder than he was during his somewhat disappointing collegiate career with the Utes and he filled a huge need as an all-around scorer for the Buffaloes. Tomlinson stepped up his game for his senior season as well, taking over the point guard duties and dishing out 3.0 assists per game. Dufault was the steady interior scorer who could also stretch out the defense with his shooting ability. On the year he averaged 11.1 points and 4.4 rebounds. Trey Eckloff, Shannon Sharpe and Beau Webb are also gone after seeing very limited minutes during the 2011-2012 campaign.
This is where things get interesting. Some quality, and probably a starter or two, will come from the group of newcomers and how quickly they live up to their hype could be the difference between a team poised for another NCAA Tournament appearance and a team who will be looking ahead to the future by January. The most talent could be in the frontcourt where big men Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon will battle for playing time. Scott is a superb scorer for a 6-10, 215 pound freshman and he can finish in the paint against Pac-12 opponents right now. He will need to get stronger, but he is crafty enough to make a huge impact right away. He may not start from day one, but he will be playing starter minutes sooner rather than later. Xavier Johnson, Chris Jenkins and Eli Stalzer will add plenty of talent to the wing. At 6-6 and 220 pounds, Johnson has the size and athleticism to play either forward spot and that versatility will be extremely important for a team that will likely spend a lot of time without a traditional power forward. Johnson has developed into a great rebounder and his athleticism will result in plenty of exciting finishes above the rim. Point guard Xavier Talton will add some emergency depth at that position for now. Transfer walk-ons Beau Gamble and Kevin Nelson are also eligible to play this season.
Who to Watch:
Andre Roberson is the star of this team. After a great freshman campaign, the 6-7 small forward kept getting better as a sophomore during the 2011-2012 campaign. He ended the season shooting 51.0 percent from the floor and averaging 11.6 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. For a 6-7 wing, those are some amazing numbers. He is an unbelievable athlete and will spend most of his time at the four spot just like he did in 2011-2012. If Colorado needs to play big, Roberson will move to his more natural three spot. The wing position also returns the best shooter on the team in Spencer Dinwiddie. The sophomore connected on 43.8 percent of his attempts from long range and averaged a smooth 10.0 points per game last season. If there are more shots to go around, Dinwiddie could be in for a big year. Sabatino Chen and Jeremy Adams averaged about ten minutes per game last season and will provide some experienced depth on the perimeter, but both will be pushed by the talented group of freshmen. Perhaps it is Askia Booker who will shoulder the most pressure of any returning player. The 6-1 sophomore was usually the first player off of the bench and averaged 21.5 minutes per game, but now he will be asked to run the point. Booker can score, but running the offense will be a different challenge.
Replacing Dufault in the frontcourt should not be too much of an issue. Shane Harris-Tunks is not a proven scorer like Dufault, but he is a big 6-11 center who can eat up plenty of space in the paint. Colorado will need him to at least play some solid defense and grab some rebounds. An interior scorer to replace Dufault is a must, but that player will likely be Scott eventually. In the meantime, Harris-Tunks can hold down the fort and play a big role off of the bench if the freshmen live up to their expectations. If those expectations are met, this is a group that has the talent to make another run at the NCAA Tournament. At the least, barring injuries, they are a deep team that will have enough experience to be very dangerous, again, in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Askia Booker, Sophomore, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Spencer Dinwiddie, Sophomore, Guard, 10.0 points per game
Xavier Johnson, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Andre Roberson, Junior, Forward, 11.6 points per game
Shane Harris-Tunks, Junior, Center, 2.7 points per game
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#15 Andre Roberson
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#61 Josh Scott
#71 Xavier Johnson