#79 Colorado Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


Colorado Buffaloes


2017-2018 Overall Rank: #79

Conference Rank: #8 Pac-12

Colorado Logo
There were relatively high hopes for Colorado heading into last season. However, the Buffaloes struggled for much of the season. They lost their first seven conference games. But Coach Tad Boyle and company were playing better basketball in February and March and did get an invitation to the NIT, where they lost at UCF in the first round. With some major losses, this will be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Buffaloes, but with a strong recruiting class and a handful of players ready to step into larger roles, Colorado will not take a huge step back. The return of George King will help too. The 6-6 senior averaged 11.1 points and a team high 6.8 rebounds last season. He is a very dangerous shooter and connected on 47.8 percent of his attempts during Pac-12 play last season. If he can keep that pace going for an entire season, King will be one of the top scorers in the Pac-12.
2016-17 Record: 19-15, 8-10
2016-17 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Tad Boyle
Coach Record: 149-95 at Colorado, 205-160 overall
Who’s Out:
Six players are gone who averaged at least ten minutes per game including three starters. Derrick White led the team with 18.1 points, 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He was also the team’s most prolific and consistent outside shooter. White emerged as the leader of the team during his senior season. Xavier Johnson, a 6-7 wing, was just as productive, averaging 14.8 points and 5.9 rebounds. Those two provided more than just production. The final starter lost is Wesley Gordon, who averaged 6.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks during his senior season. Josh Fortune was a part-time starter in 2016-2017 and averaged 6.0 points per game. Bryce Peters and Thomas Akyazili added perimeter options for the Buffaloes last year.
Who’s In:
With all of those departures, this large group of eight newcomers will have to make a relatively large impact right away. The only one with any collegiate experience is Namon Wright, a transfer from Missouri. The 6-5 guard averaged 8.2 points and 3.8 rebounds during his two years with the Tigers. He can immediately add a scoring threat to the Colorado roster. Freshmen Lazar Nikolic, D’Shawn Schwartz, Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright IV will add more options on the perimeter. Schwartz, a 6-7 wing, is a superb talent. It remains to be seen if he will be ready to make a big impact as a freshman, but he certainly has the potential. Bey is another big wing. He may not score as much as Schwartz, but he can do a little bit of everything. Wright, the reigning Mr. Basketball in the state of Minnesota, is a do-it-all point guard who can score in bunches when not setting up his teammates. The newcomers in the frontcourt are Alexander Strating, Evan Battey and Dallas Walton. Battey and Walton will battle for major playing time right away.
Who to Watch:
Coach Boyle will open up the competition for every starting spot, but it is possible for him to start five returning players. King is almost a sure thing. Dominique Collier is a great talent, but averaged just 6.0 points and 1.6 assists last season while missing some time with a foot injury. He needs to emerge as a floor leader this year. Deleon Brown had a promising freshman campaign. He still has work to do after averaging just 3.2 points per game, but he has the potential to develop into a dynamic scoring threat. Up front Tory Miller and Lucas Siewert will hope to secure starting jobs. Miller is an experienced 6-9 senior who averaged 5.6 points and 4.0 rebounds last season. He is an efficient interior scorer and a strong rebounder. Siewert ended his freshman season looking much more productive than he started it. His 2.7 point and 2.1 rebound averages do not do him justice and he will likely boost those numbers significantly with more playing time during his sophomore campaign.
Final Projection:
If everything comes together, this could be one of the surprise teams in the Pac-12. With a disappointing trip to the NIT last year, similar results would be welcomed during the 2017-2018 campaign. Coach Boyle has talent at his disposal. Much of it is very young and unproven, but there are enough options that the pieces will come together sooner or later. Like last year there will be some tough stretches along the way, but this could be a very dangerous team by March. That may not be enough to reach the NCAA Tournament, but it could be enough for Colorado to pull off some upsets against the Pac-12 elite and get into the NIT.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Dominique Collier, Senior, Guard, 6.0 points per game
Deleon Brown, Sophomore, Guard, 3.2 points per game
George King, Senior, Guard, 11.1 points per game
Tory Miller, Senior, Forward, 5.6 points per game
Lucas Siewert, Sophomore, Forward, 2.7 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.5 (117th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.2 (178, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (157, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.2 (149, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (175, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (181, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.4 (163, 7)
Rebound Margin: 3.0 (87, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (140, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (83, 6)


Madness 2017 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#66 D'shawn Schwartz
#128 Tyler Bey
#131 Evan Battey