#45 Colorado Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Colorado Buffaloes

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #45
Conference Rank: #5 Pac-12

Colorado Team Page#45 Colorado Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Colorado Basketball Tickets

Colorado had high expectations last season, but failed to live up to them. Coach Tad Boyle and company only won seven Pac-12 games and their season ended in the second round of the CBI. Like the year before, the 2014-2015 campaign was hindered by injuries. If this group can actually stay healthy, which has not been the case so far, the Buffaloes have the talent to make the NCAA Tournament.

2014-15 Record: 16-18, 7-11
2014-15 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Tad Boyle
Coach Record: 108-67 at Colorado, 164-133 overall

Who’s Out:
Askia Booker led Colorado with 17.2 points, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals during his senior season. That is a lot of scoring to replace, but there are other scorers on this team who had to give way to Booker last season. Now the offense has the potential to be much, much more balanced. Jaron Hopkins and Dustin Thomas have opted to transfer. Hopkins was a big guard who could play some solid defense and Thomas was one of those many 6-6 to 6-7 versatile forwards that Coach Tad Boyle likes to employ.  

Who’s In:
The most important newcomer this year will be Providence transfer Josh Fortune. Two years ago during his last season with the Friars the 6-5 guard averaged 8.4 points and 2.1 assists per game and knocked down 56 three-pointers. He averaged 33 minutes per game on an NCAA Tournament team, so this is an experienced player who could step right into the starting lineup. His toughest competition for a starting gig could come from George King, who missed last year with an injury. King barely played as a freshman two years ago with the Buffs, but that year off has done him good and he is ready to make a big impact on the perimeter. Incoming freshmen Akyazil Thomas and Mitch Lombard will add more options to the backcourt. Akyazili, a 6-2 Belgian, is one to watch this year and for the future. The frontcourt adds Kenan Guzonjic, a junior college transfer who spent one season at Midland Junior College in Texas. He still has some work to do, but at 6-8 and 240 pounds, Guzonjic can bang around in the paint.

Who to Watch:
The focus of this Colorado team will be in the frontcourt. Josh Scott is one of the best players in the Pac-12 when healthy. Last year he struggled with injuries and missed nine games, but still averaged 14.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The 6-10, 245 pound senior was obviously involved in the offense quite a bit last season, but he will be even more so in 2015-2016. Booker took a lot of shots, but Coach Boyle will be certain to make sure his guards work through their talented big man now that Booker is gone. Wesley Gordon will team up with Scott in the paint. Gordon was pretty inconsistent as a sophomore, but he is a tough rebounder and defender. If his offense develops this year and he can boost his 6.6 points per game scoring average, this will be one of the best frontcourts not only in the Pac-12, but also in the nation. Sophomore Tory Miller will join Guzonjic in providing much of the depth up front. Small forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher played well at the end of his sophomore season. On the year he averaged just 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, but he should battle with King for the starting spot at the three position.

Final Projection:
The bigger concern is in the backcourt. Xavier Johnson is out for the year after tearing his ACL and that leaves Dominique Collier and Xavier Talton and the newcomers to handle the backcourt. Collier is just a sophomore, but he showed off his quickness last season. He is expected to take a big step between his freshman and sophomore seasons after averaging 4.7 points and 1.5 assists in 2014-2015. Talton was a part-time starter last year too and he is an experienced senior. He will be pushed by Fortune, who is a better all-around scorer, but either way Coach Boyle has options on the perimeter despite the loss of Johnson.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Dominique Collier, Sophomore, Guard, 4.7 points per game
Josh Fortune, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Junior, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Wesley Gordon, Junior, Forward, 6.6 points per game
Josh Scott, Senior, Forward, 14.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.0 (134th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.1 (220, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (161, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.4 (138, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (276, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (203, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.3 (98, 5)
Rebound Margin: 5.0 (33, 2)
Assists Per Game: 11.8 (235, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (241, 10)


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