CU Above the Rim – October, 2013

 

October 31st

Colorado ranked No. 29 in AP preseason poll

The Buffs have been in the top 25 in many preseason polls. However, when the poll that counts came out, the Associated Press poll, the Buffs were relegated to a tie for the No. 29 spot, along with Iowa.

Not a big deal? Perhaps not. With a tournament used to determine a national champion, polls are not as important in college basketball as they are in football. But … it sure would have been nice to have made the preseason poll.

Ask your Buff basketball friends when was the last time Colorado was ranked in the AP preseason poll … we’ll wait.

… It’s happened only once, in 1969, when the Buffs were ranked 10th in the 1969-70 preseason poll (the Buffs were out of the poll by the time the calendar turned to 1970).

The last time the Buffs were ranked at all was last season, when the Buffs were ranked 23rd and 19th in successive polls in November before falling to Wyoming on December 1st. In the 112-year history of the program, Colorado has only appeared in 33 polls. Conversely, the CU football team, which plays a season roughly a third that of the basketball team, has been ranked 293 times.

So, yeah, it’s kind of a big deal for CU to be ranked …

If the preseason poll is to be looked upon as a prediction for the Pac-12 race, then Arizona (No. 6) will win the conference, followed by Oregon (No. 19) and UCLA (No. 22).

Non-conference foes are also highly ranked, with Kansas coming in at No. 5, Oklahoma State at No. 8, and the Buffs’ first opponent of the season, No. 25 Baylor.

Also receiving votes in the first poll of the season were Harvard (No. 31), Arizona State (No. 34), Washington (No. 37), and Stanford (No. 38).

The entire AP poll:

1Kentucky (27)0-01,546
2Michigan State (22)0-01,543
3Louisville (14)0-01,501
4Duke (2)0-01,435
5Kansas0-01,357
6Arizona0-01,311
7Michigan0-01,120
8Oklahoma State0-01,093
8Syracuse0-01,093
10Florida0-01,048
11Ohio State0-01,036
12North Carolina0-0954
13Memphis0-0741
14Virginia Commonwealth0-0680
15Gonzaga0-0538
16Wichita State0-0512
17Marquette0-0510
18Connecticut0-0448
19Oregon0-0408
20Wisconsin0-0338
21Notre Dame0-0332
22UCLA0-0244
23New Mexico0-0213
24Virginia0-0189
25Baylor0-0180
  • Others receiving votes: Tennessee 176, Creighton 145, Indiana 111, Iowa 83, Colorado 83, Harvard 46, Boise State 22, Villanova 14, Arizona State 11, Georgetown 11, UNLV 8, Washington 8, Stanford 6, LSU 6, Pittsburgh 6, Boston College 5, La Salle 4, Saint Louis 3, St. John’s 3, Missouri 3, Cincinnati 1
  • Dropped from rankings: Indiana 4, Miami (FL) 5, Georgetown 8, Kansas State 12, Saint Louis 13, Pittsburgh 20, Creighton 22

October 30th

ESPN: CU facing 9th-toughest non-conference schedule in the nation

ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan has put together the top ten best non-conference schedules for this fall. The full list, which includes Arizona at No. 6, can be found here.

Colorado came in at No. 9, and the write up for the Buffs is as follows:

9) COLORADO

Toughest: vs. Baylor (Nov. 8 in Dallas), Harvard (Nov. 24), Kansas (Dec. 7), vs. Oklahoma State (Dec. 21 in Las Vegas) Next-toughest: Wyoming (Nov. 13), at Colorado State (Dec. 3), Georgia (Dec. 28) The rest: UT Martin (Nov. 10), Jackson State (Nov. 16), Arkansas State (Nov. 18), UCSB (Nov. 21), at Air Force (Nov. 30), Elon (Dec. 13)

In relatively short order, Tad Boyle has turned Colorado into a program that expects to play NCAA-tournament-level basketball on a yearly basis, and with that improved status, the ability — and a willingness — to build tough schedules has followed. (Boyle surely took heed in 2011, when his otherwise worthy squad was left out of the tournament thanks to its atrocious nonconference schedule.) The result is what you see above, which is highlighted by huge games against former Big 12 foes Kansas and Oklahoma State, complemented by games against a talented Baylor group and the loaded, experienced Crimson. (Which, yes, is a really weird phrase to write.) The good news, at least in real-world wins and losses terms, is that none of those games is a true road visit, plus almost all of the second-level opponents Colorado will face (Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, Georgia) are retooling.

Oregon picks up top-rated junior college transfer

Welcome to Eugene, Oregon … the Manhattan, Kansas, of the college basketball world …

From CBSSports.com … Michael Chandler is hoping the fourth (well, technically fifth) time is the charm when it comes to college commitments.

The Northwest Florida State (Fla.) center pledged to Oregon on Tuesday night, his junior college coach Steve DeMeo told CBSSports.com.

The big man visited the Ducks’ campus this past weekend.

“Coach [Dana] Altman and his staff will help Michael become a special player and a relaly special person,” DeMeo said. “We are very excited that Michael is going to such a special place like Oregon.”

Chandler, a 6-foot-10 Indianapolis native, had previously committed to Louisville, Xavier and UCF. He decommitted from Louisville and Xavier before seemingly settling on UCF. However, he did not qualify academically back in 2011, and was forced to go to junior college.

Demeo said that Chandler is on track to qualify out of junior college.

“He is working hard on his academics,” Demeo said.

When he was in the class of 2011 Chandler was a top-50 prospect nationally.

October 29th

Oregon transfer allowed to play immediately

From ESPN … Oregon’s chances of catching Pac-12 favorite Arizona improved mightily Friday after the NCAA granted a waiver to Houston transfer Joseph Young to play immediately for the Ducks, Young told ESPN.com in a text message Friday morning.

Young, who averaged 18 points a game for the Cougars last season, will give the Ducks — ranked 18th in the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll — another perimeter scorer in an already-deep backcourt.

“Offensively, he’s a handful,” Ducks senior forward Mike Moser said, according to the school’s website. “Nobody wants to guard him; nobody can guard him.”

Moser said Young isn’t a one-dimensional player like many playmakers tend to be.

“He’s the exact opposite,” Moser said. “He can score and also lock guys up on the other end.”

Oregon was picked fourth in the Pac-12 in last week’s preseason poll at the conference’s media day.

Young, 6-foot-2, will fit in with Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Johnathan Loyd on the perimeter. The Ducks also added Moser, a UNLV post-grad transfer who is expected to be an impact frontcourt player.

Oregon has had a flurry of transfers under fourth-year coach Dana Altman, including former Ducks Arsalan Kazemi, Tony Woods and Devoe Joseph.

Young’s premise for an immediate waiver without sitting out was based on his father, Michael Young, being reassigned on the Houston staff.

The decision on Young comes two days after Georgetown — Oregon’s season-opening opponent at the Armed Forces Classic at Camp Humphreys in South Korea on Nov. 8 — received news that UCLA transfer Josh Smith was eligible to play. Smith received his waiver despite playing in six games for the Bruins last year in the fall.

Smith got two full seasons of eligibility, which means he’ll play in a somewhat unprecedented four-and-a half seasons of eligibility, or nine semesters.

UCLA forward out with appendicitis

From ESPN … UCLA forward Travis Wear has been diagnosed with appendicitis.

The fifth-year senior didn’t practice Monday and was being treated at a hospital.

A team spokesman says there’s no timetable for Wear to return.

Wear averaged 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds while starting 31 of 32 games last season. He was expected to be a key part of the Bruins’ frontcourt again this season.

UCLA opens the season at home against Drexel on Nov. 8.

UCLA to participate in Champions Classic with Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State

From ESPN … Kentucky coach John Calipari is close to completing another type of Champions Classic with three of the more iconic programs — North Carolina, UCLA and Ohio State — to match the current one the Wildcats are in with Duke, Kansas and Michigan State.

According to multiple sources, the four-team, doubleheader event with UK, UNC, UCLA and Ohio State would follow the same format of the current Champions Classic with a three-year rotation of matchups and sites.

The event would begin in the 2014-15 season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, then move to Indianapolis before a third year in Las Vegas. Matchups for the event are to be determined.

This is the third year of the Champions Classic, which began in 2011 in New York, went to Atlanta last season and will be at the United Center in Chicago on Nov. 12. Kentucky will play Michigan State, and Duke will take on Kansas. All four teams have committed to continuing the series with a new three-year rotation in 2014.

UCLA coach Steve Alford confirmed the Bruins are in the event, but Ohio State coach Thad Matta didn’t say whether the Buckeyes had been locked in yet. However, a source said Kentucky has firm commitments from all three schools.

October 23rd

Tad Boyle CU Media day remarks

From CUBuffs.com

OPENING STATEMENT – “I really like this year’s team. I think we’ve got a lot of talent, we’ve got a lot of athleticism. It’s almost like coaching two teams at this point because we’ve got four starters returning and some veterans that have played a lot of games for us, but we’ve also got six freshman, four true freshman, and those six freshman haven・ played a minute of college basketball. I know early we are going to miss guys like Sabatino Chen, Jeremy Adams, and Shane Harris Tunks. We brought in a lot of experience off of the bench last year and this year we are going to be playing a lot of guys who don’t know what Division I basketball is all about. But they’re going to find out quick, we are going to throw them into the fire. We are going to need our veterans and returning players to play well, especially early for us to be successful.”

“I love our team, but then I look at our non-conference schedule. It’s why I get bags under my eyes and I lose sleep at night. I may have over-scheduled, time will tell and we will find out. But I know our players are excited about opening up with Baylor on November 8th and then all of the other quality programs that we have in our non conference schedule, which I think will serve us well, but there will be some bumps along the road and we’ve got to be ready to handle those, be resilient, and get better every day. The core values of our program haven’t changed and they won’t change as long as our coaching staff is here”.

ON MANAGING HIGH EXPECTATIONS AROUND THE TEAM – “Number one is we want to stay humble and we want to stay hungry, that is what it’s all about. We try not to talk about expectations. Obviously our players are involved in social media and they know what is going on outside of our program, but what we try to do is hold ourselves accountable to our internal standards of our program. What I worry about day to day is not handling the outside expectations, but handling the internal expectations, which is coming to practice every day ready to hook it up and compete, not making excuses, staying humble and staying hungry, challenging each other every day, and just trying to get better every single day. If we do that, with the talent we have on this team, success will take care of itself. I’m not into managing expectations, but I am into trying to hold our players and our staff, and everybody involved in our program accountable to our internal standards”.

ON IF THERE ARE SIGNS PLAYERS HAVE BOUGHT INTO THE HYPE – “Yes (there are signs). That’s why we had an open scrimmage here last Saturday, and that is why one team got smacked. The other team felt pretty good about themselves when they walked out of this arena. As a coach this time of year, you are always mad at somebody. We’ve got a black team and we’ve got a gold team and somebody is going to win at practice and somebody is going to lose at practice. Every rule we have is competition based. There is a time, there is a score, there is a winner and there is a loser and we want to have our guys hungry to win and hate to lose. It’s my job as a coach to hold them accountable. We try to do that day in and day out”.

“There are people blowing smoke up these guys’ rear ends every day: on campus, every time they pick up a paper, listen to the radio, or get on Twitter. It’s my job to make sure they don’t buy into that hype and I feel like I am the bad guy right now, but that’s okay. We’re watched more film of practices early in the season this year than any team we’ve had since we’ve been here because I want to show them they’re not running the floor. We have freshman that we are trying to teach and they’re trying to learn. I’m not saying it’s been all bad, because it hasn’t. They know what’s ahead of them. But it’s my job as a coach this year to keep these guys a little bit on edge”.

ON THE ATTENTION HE HAS GOTTEN – “There is a fine line between being appreciative of the attention and gracious and thankful for our season ticket holders for selling out before the season and being hesitant because this year’s team hasn’t won a game yet.  It’s new territory for us, it’s new territory for me. I have always been a part of rebuilding projects. Now we are on the map, so how do we handle it? It’s new territory for me, new territory for our team, and new territory for our program so it’s important we handle it the right way”.

ON SELLING OUT SEASON TICKETS BEFORE THE SEASON – “It’s a testament to our fans, a testament to our students, to the C Unit who come night in and night out. I want everybody to know that I am appreciative of that and we are not going to take that for granted. The history of Colorado Basketball shows that that can go away, and it will go away if we don’t do what we are supposed to on the floor. It’s not all about wins and losses, it’s about how we compete every night and how we play the game. With this team, as young as we are, there might be some bumps along the road. It’s how do we handle that, how do we bounce back from that, how resilient are we? That’s going to be the test this year”.

ON HOW THE COORS EVENTS CENTER COMPARES TO OTHER PLACES HE’S SEEN – “It’s right up there. It’s as good as it gets. I point to the Colorado State game and the Arizona game last year. When this place is rockin’ and our fans are engaged and our players are feeding off of that energy, this is as good a place as anywhere in the country. Our challenge now is to get it like that every night. Get it like that on November 10th at 4 o・lock on a Sunday afternoon when we are playing Tennessee Martin, and to have that kind of atmosphere and the same kind of energy from our students and from our fans. I think there is always room for improvement: as a coach, as a player, as our fans, but we are very thankful for the support we’ve got and we want to make sure we play in a way that makes us worthy of that support. We want people to say ‘that was fun, I had a great experience, my family had a great experience, I can’t wait for the next game, the food was good’. They’ve improved the parking, they’ve improved the traffic and we want to continue to get better in every area. A lot of those areas I don’t have control over, but that’s a challenge for our entire department”.

ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF LEADERSHIP – “I think right now (the players) are sharing it. I believe leadership emerges. I have not been a guy that names captains early in the year. What I don’t want to do is give a kid a label of captain (early) and feel like in January they aren’t worthy of it and I have to take it away from them. If I name Spencer (Dinwiddie) and Askia (Booker), the two most experienced players, captains, I don’t want Josh Scott or Xavier Johnson, any of our freshmen, or Ben Mills to feel that since they aren’t captains they can’t say anything. I want everybody to have ownership in our program and everybody to have leadership opportunities in our program. Sometimes I think as a coach, when you name captains, you stunt that and you automatically limit kids as leaders. Leaders are going to emerge as the season progresses. When things get tough, who is going to step up and take control and be vocal? That has to emerge. But I think early, Spencer and Askia are our most experienced guys and they are two very vocal guys right now, which is good”.

ON AREAS OF PLAY THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT FROM LAST YEAR – “I always start with defense. We are going to miss Andre (Roberson) defensively. We are going to miss his rebounding, we already have. So we are going to have to figure out a way, by committee, to become a better rebounding team. I hope we have the number two rebounder in the country that emerges from the group we have. But if that doesn’t happen, we better do it as a group, which means Wesley Gordon needs to do his fair share, Josh Scott needs to get two or three more a game, Xavier Johnson needs to get two or three more a game, Spencer Dinwiddie needs to become a better rebounding guard at 6′ . All down the line, we all have to step it up in rebounding. We were number two in the conference last year in FG percentage defense. We always want to be in the top three, but we want to lead the league in that. So with Andre gone, we need to become a better team defensively. Offensively, we need to become more efficient. For us to take that next step, we need to be a more efficient offensive team. With the talent we have and the skill we have, our field goal percentage should be upwards of 48 and hopefully above 50 percent”.

ON MAN TO MAN VS ZONE DEFENSE – “I love man to man defense. That is just the way I was taught, that is the way I’ve grown up. That doesn’t mean we won’t need to resort to zone defense at times. The question I am going to be faced with at times this year is if I am better off playing zone with my better players who are in foul trouble or do I stick with my principles and what I believe in and play man to man with three or four freshmen on the floor”.

ON IMPROVING ASSIST NUMBERS THIS SEASON – “Ball movement is part of the efficiency I was referring to. Our ball movement needs to get better. We’ve been working on that. Our staff has done a good job. We have talked about some things that we are going to do differently without totally changing our system. We need better ball movement, our assist numbers need to be better”.

ON ADJUSTING COACHING WITH THE HIGH EXPECTATIONS – “You just have to come to work every day. There is no other way to do it. We’ve got to be worthy of those expectations and just understand that you’re not going to sneak up on anybody but now people are gunning for you. We’re not allowed to talk about our scrimmages, but they are great experiences for our program and what you learn from those is invaluable. You don’t have to have 10,000 people in the stands for you to learn and get better. At an open scrimmage at nine o’clock in the morning on a Saturday when one team gets smacked by the other, hopefully that is a learning opportunity that says ‘if you don’t come ready to play, you’re going to get beat.’ Our veterans and returning players should understand that, but our freshmen don’t. I don’t expect them to. They’re going to learn by us throwing them in the fire. When I come to work every day, I don’t worry about the external expectations. The internal standards that we expect of ourselves are no different from when we were picked 11th than they are when they pick us third. The way we approach every day and every practice is no different. What the outside world is looking at might be different. But we don’t want to change what we are doing and how we are doing it. The fear of failure creeps in a little bit, but that is always there anyways. It’s always there as a coach and should be as a player, it’s a good thing”.

October 22nd

Spencer Dinwiddie named to Bob Cousy Award Watch list

From CUBuffs.com … University of Colorado junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie was named to the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award watch list, announced Tuesday by The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men’s college basketball. This list was created by a committee of well-respected media members and influential people within college basketball from around the country.

This is the second consecutive year Dinwiddie has been made the watch list and is one of six Pac-12 Conference players named to the 2014 list. The Woodland Hills, Calif. native, who was an All-Pac-12 selection a year ago, is coming off a sophomore campaign where he led the Buffaloes in scoring (15.3 ppg.), assists (99, 3.0 apg.), and free throw percentage (.825).

“The Hall of Fame is proud to work with Mr. Cousy and honor the best point guards playing in college basketball right now,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “This list represents some of the top student athletes from across the country. We are truly honored to be a part of this award.”

“The Bob Cousy Award promotes the values of leadership, determination, and teamwork, all skills needed not only on the hardwood but also in life,” said Ken Kaufman, Chair of the Bob Cousy Award and former president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). “Mr. Cousy exemplified all of these traits, and continues to be an inspiration to basketball players on and off the court.”

This watch list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 in early February, then final five by early March.

In addition to the six other candidates from the Pac-12 who were named to the list, the non-conference slate also has candidates who will face the Buffs. Siyani Chambers and Brandyn Curry of Harvard and Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State are also on the list.

October 20th

Buffs pick up three-star forward recruit

Just the facts … Tory Miller is a 6’8″, 247-pound power forward from New Hampton, New Hampshire … Rivals bio  Scout bio

What others had to say about Miller … Miller is considered to be a three-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout. KC Run GMC coach L.J. Goolsby confirmed the news to Scout.com. “He told me he basically loved the college campus atmosphere when he went on his visit,” Goolsby said. “I think one of the other factors was Dom Collier going there. They have a pretty good relationship. I think that helped. Dom was with him there when he was there for his official visit. That really helped put his mind at ease since he knows someone else going there as well”.  Dominique Collier is the other known verbal commit to Colorado this cycle. Collier, from Denver East high, is considered to be a four-star prospect … Rivals bio  Scout bio).

Miller had other offers from … a number of basketball schools, including Marquette, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Iowa, Miami (Fla.) and Arizona State, and also carried offers from schools like Colorado State, Arkansas, Nebraska and Penn State. Miller took an official visit to Colorado on October 3rd, but also took official visits to Arizona State, Iowa and Marquette before settling on the Buffs.

 

October 17th

Full transcript of Tad Boyle and Spencer Dinwiddie at Pac-12 media day:

THE MODERATOR: We’ll start with an opening statement from Coach.

COACH BOYLE: We’re excited to be back. Another Pac-12 Media Day in San Francisco. Great city. Pac-12 Studios, it’s an honor to be here. I’m excited about this season, obviously, like everybody is right now. But one of the reasons for my excitement is the guy sitting here to the right of me. Spencer, in my opinion, is one of the premier point guards in the country. I like our team. We have got four returning starters coming back from last year’s team. I think there’s a little bit of a misnomer in that we have an experienced team coming back. We have got four starters coming back, but outside of that, Eli Stalzer and Xavier Talton came off the bench for us last year.

We lost a lot with Andre Roberson, Shane Harris-Tunks, and Jeremy Adams. Last year we had experience in seniors coming off the bench. This year we have six freshmen. 10 of our 13 players are freshmen or sophomores. So we got a lot of youth. That’s not going to be an excuse, but it’s a fact that we’re dealing with in practice every day.

But I love our team, I love our guys. We got a lot of talent. And I think as the year goes on we’re going to continue to improve and get better. And our non-conference schedule is obviously very imposing, but these guys like that.

THE MODERATOR: Take questions.

Q. I was talking to Coach Sendek and Jahii about the exposure that it gets for the conference to have you, Carson and a couple other guys in discussions for Pac-12 Player of the Year, and some of the better players across the country. Can you talk about the kind of players that are in the Pac-12 this year that you see, specifically other talented guards like yourself.

SPENCER DINWIDDIE: Well, in our conference I think we have a lot of very skilled and very versatile players. You mentioned Jahii. I think Kyle, who is also here is a matchup problem. You have Justin Cobbs, who is a friend of mine. He’s very underrated. In the national landscape he’s underrated.

If you look on Cal, they have Ty Wallace, they also have Jabari Bird, who is a top-ranked guy. Then you can go down each team. Stanford has both Chasson, who was this close to making our World University Games, and they also have Dwight Powell who played on a very talented Canada team that actually beat us.

So, I mean, every team across the board is going to have those guys that make this conference tough. And that’s why people predict us to be maybe a six- or seven-bid league in the NCAA Tournament. So this year I think that the Pac-12 is firmly backed.

Q. A couple of years ago Colorado basketball wasn’t very highly regarded. Now you guys are picked near the top of the conference, expected to be top 25, NCAA Tournament. How do you guys start to handle some of those expectations and deal with those as a team and a coaching staff?

COACH BOYLE: Well, we don’t worry about them. We don’t talk about them with our team. They’re there. But what we try to do every day is get better. We try to hold ourselves to the standards internally that our program has, that we have put on ourselves.

We can’t worry about what the outside world is thinking about us or talking about or saying. Because I think when they picked us 11th our first year in the league that didn’t matter. We ended up winning the conference tournament. Now they’re picking us maybe in the upper half of the league. That doesn’t matter either. We’ve got to come to work every day, and at the end of the day all that matters is the performance on the court.

And it’s important that our players know that and they don’t get caught up in the hype. That’s sometimes a challenge. But I like our team. I think you hear Spencer talk, you can hear a maturity level that he has. Askia Booker, his back-court mate. We’re going to rely on those guys for leadership this year and keeping our young guys kind of focused at the task at hand, which is getting better every day in practice.

Q. Seems like there’s an expectation that there will be a clump of teams right behind Arizona in this race, and I want to know if you see it that way and how you see it shaping up.

SPENCER DINWIDDIE: Well…

COACH BOYLE: I’m going to defer to Spencer on this.

SPENCER DINWIDDIE: Okay. I would probably say what Coach is thinking. He’ll be more politically correct, and I’m going to try to be polite as well. But we don’t view Arizona as the top, the cream, and everybody else in the rest. We view ourselves as the cream and everybody else can fight for the rest of the spots. And that’s how we’re going to approach the season and we’re going to try to win all of our games.

COACH BOYLE: Confidence has never been one of Spencer’s problems. No, I mean, to me it’s a wide-open race. You go down — like Spencer mentioned, you go down every team in the league, I don’t care who it is, you can make a case for every night being a battle. I know that’s a cliche, but I’m — I don’t get caught up — I know this is a great day to talk about our team and what’s ahead of us, but in terms of trying to pick a champion today, it doesn’t do anybody any good.

It doesn’t matter. So it really doesn’t matter what I think or what Spencer thinks, all that matters is what happens on the floor. And I do know that this league is from top to bottom as strong as it’s been since I’ve been in it, and I think there’s some coaches maybe who have been around longer than I have that can probably attest to that.

But we’re excited to be in the hunt. We’re excited to be in the conversation of one of the better teams in this league. Now we’ve got to go out and prove it.

Q. For both of you, I read something on your website about the program that you guys underwent. It looked like some Navy SEALs-type training. Kind of what did you hope to get out of that and how do you think that has helped prepare you for this year?

COACH BOYLE: I’ll start with this one, let Spencer talk about it as a guy who actually went through it. But it’s the second year that we brought the program in. These guys are real military personnel who have kind of been there, done that.

They bring a credibility in terms of not only defending our nation, as servicemen, but also the leadership, the toughness, the teamwork, all the things that we try to talk about as coaches through the course of a season.

They try to put that in a two-day program, basically. And it’s not fun. It was cold and rainy the first night that we did it outside. We were in the gym the next morning in literal physical hand-to-hand combat. Our guys were going after these guys. They were — they had head gear on and pads. But you learn so much about your team, leadership. You learn about toughness. You learn about who wants to step up. It’s the second year we have done it. I think we get a lot out of it. It’s something that we refer back to throughout the course of the season. And it’s no fun when they go through it, but I think when they’re done there’s a sense of accomplishment and something that we can really grow from that experience.

SPENCER DINWIDDIE: On our end as players, it brings us together as a unit and also makes you do some self-reflection. Josh Scott, one of our best players, may have the best season out of all of us, very talented, got bigger and everything, but there was an exercise where he had to be on the bike trying to command the unit. And Josh’s strong suit is not being very vocal. And he acknowledged that later in the locker room, and he was like: It’s something I have to work on.

So when you go through adversity of that nature, it brings you together as a unit, which is good, and then it also makes you look at yourself individually and be very honest with yourself, because there’s nowhere to hide, there’s no real teammate to pick you up; you’re going to know what you were weak at going through the program.

Q. Early in your tenure when you first got to Colorado, or the second year, when you guys entered the Pac-12, you were very vocal about that it was on the coaches to improve the Pac-12, its kind of perception through recruiting and whatnot. And Coach Larry talked about the recruiting that they have done. Can you talk about the talent influx in the league as well?

COACH BOYLE: It starts with recruiting. Colorado would not be in the position we are today if Spencer didn’t choose to come to Colorado. It’s about getting good players, good people, high-character individuals that can help you compete for championships.

So it doesn’t end there. We’ve got to develop those guys. And I think that any time you talk about your conference, as we are here today, once we get past the holidays, we’re into January and February, we’re going to be beating up on each other and trying to tear each other down and tear each other apart.

But up until that point, I think it’s important that we support each other. We’ve got to root for every team in our league to win every non-conference game, big game, small games, because it’s a reflection on all of us.

Part of it is recruiting, part of it is scheduling. I know for us we have really improved our non-conference schedule. You look at what we have got this year, and we’re playing the top-three preseason teams in the Big-12: Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Kansas. We’ve got Harvard coming to town. We’re at Colorado State, we’re at Air Force, we started a home-and-home with Georgia.

I mean, we have got tough, tough non-conference games. It’s important that we show well in those games. It’s important that every team in our conference plays well in the non-league portion of their schedule, because that brings credibility to our league.

And that’s the problem we had a couple of years ago, our first year in the league, is we lost some of those games and we didn’t have as many marquee wins as hopefully we can have this year. And, again, with the players and the programs — I haven’t looked at everybody’s schedules. I just know ours. And that’s what keeps me up at night, because we have bitten off a pretty big chunk.

Q. The young guys on your team, are there any freshmen potentially going to start? If so, who and which position?

COACH BOYLE: We have got six freshmen, and two of them redshirted. Wesley Gordon, a 6’8″ kid from Colorado Springs who is really going to help alleviate the absence of Andre Roberson from our lineup. He can block shots. He’s a very skilled player, plays above the rim, can rebound the ball. So he’s got a shot at starting. I don’t know exactly who is going to start. We’re 11 practices in, but Wesley Gordon and Chris Jenkins, the other 6’6″ kid from Detroit who redshirted last year as well, shoots the ball well from the perimeter and has got great length.

Dustin Thomas and Jaron Hopkins are two guys of our freshmen class who so far in practice have really kind of stepped up and shown the ability to contribute. Whether they start or not, that is yet to be determined. Dustin Thomas shoots the ball extremely well from the perimeter. He’s tough-minded, he’s smart. He’s, again, very mature for a freshman. And Jaron is — reminds me a lot of Spencer as a freshman. He physically is a big guard that’s very athletic and can really impact the game on a lot of different ways.

We got George King and Tre’Shaun Fletcher, two other freshmen that are pretty darn talented as well.

So it’s a little early to talk about who is going to be starting and which one of those freshmen are going to emerge, because they are freshmen and we’re 11 practices in. But I love our young guys and I think that the fans that watch our team this year are going to see a lot of growth and development throughout the season.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you.

Larry Scott at Pac-12 media days

On coaches’ poll … “Three teams ranked; three more receiving votes. This is better than it has been in the past few years. It certainly represents a growing recognition and respect for the increased strength, the increased depth of the conference”.

On television coverage … “All of our games will be televised on one of our media platforms, on ESPN, FoxSports1, CBS, or the Pac-12 Networks. Television exposure makes a big difference to our fans. Consider this: two season’s ago, there were 90 Pac-12 games during the season that weren’t televised at all … This season, 45 games will be broadcast on ESPN. ESPN has a tremendous impact on the college basketball community … the exposure that we are getting on ESPN is comparable to any other conference. On top of that, FoxSports1 has a new network, which will televise 25 Pac-12 games. Last year, many of those games were on FSN. FoxSports1 is a new national sports channel, and is going to be placing a big emphasis on Pac-12 basketball, helping us reach a broader national audience with the 25 games that they’ve got … Our remaining 149 games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks … every single one of our teams will have at least 12 games on the Pac-12 Networks”.

On DirecTV … “It remains a great source of frustration for us that DirecTV continues to refuse to give Pac-12 fans that are subscribers access to the Pac-12 Networks, and we won’t rest until they, and other carriers who have refused to carry (the Pac-12 Networks) agree to carry them. Our fans have been very patient. I know they are frustrated; I share their frustration. We are working diligently to do whatever we can on our end to try and make that happen … Our team has continued to try and approach DirecTV to convince them to carry it, so far to no avail. The impasse continues, but we certainly have no expectation that DirecTV will be carrying the Pac-12 Networks anytime soon … We urge those fans who don’t want to miss their teams play (at least 12 games on the Pac-12 Networks) to change their carrier”.

Colorado just outside rankings in coaches’ poll

With Baylor ranked No. 26 and Colorado No. 27 in the preseason coaches’ poll … the opener between the two teams on November 8th could well be billed as, “Win and You’re In” … at least for the first poll of the regular season.

Arizona is the top ranked Pac-12 team, in at No. 5. Oregon, picked behind Colorado in the preseason Pac-12 media poll, is in at No. 18, with UCLA, just ahead of the Buffs in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, is ranked 23rd.

Cal and Arizona State are the only other Pac-12 teams receiving votes in the coaches’ poll.

The preseason coaches’ poll …

1Kentucky (16)0-0767
2Michigan State (3)0-0749
3Louisville (10)0-0741
4Duke (3)0-0710
5Arizona0-0637
6Kansas0-0623
7Syracuse0-0551
8Florida0-0550
9Michigan0-0548
10Ohio State0-0533
11North Carolina0-0494
12Oklahoma State0-0462
13Memphis0-0334
14Gonzaga0-0270
15Virginia Commonwealth0-0258
16Wichita State0-0233
17Marquette0-0230
18Oregon0-0175
19Connecticut0-0167
20New Mexico0-0153
21Wisconsin0-0148
22Notre Dame0-0128
23UCLA0-0121
24Indiana0-0118
25Virginia0-0103
  • Others receiving votes: Baylor 102, Colorado 93, Creighton 87, Iowa 86, Tennessee 73, Georgetown 38, Harvard 28, Pittsburgh 23, California 16, Boise State 11, Saint Louis 8, La Salle 7, Missouri 4, Temple 4, Villanova 4, Kansas State 3, LSU 2, Illinois 2, Iowa State 2, Arizona State 2, Georgia 1, UNLV 1
  • Dropped from rankings: Miami (FL) 10, Saint Louis 16, Georgetown 17, Kansas State 20, Creighton 21, La Salle 24, Florida Gulf Coast 25

 

Colorado picked third in Pac-12 media poll

The Buffs picked up one first place vote, and were only one point behind No. 2 UCLA.

From the Pac-12 … The Arizona Wildcats are picked to finish first in the 2013-14 Pac-12 Conference men’s basketball race, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-12 men’s basketball.

Arizona, led by junior guard Nick Johnson (11.5 ppg/3.6 rpg/3.2 apg), tallied 21 first-place votes and is the clear favorite of the media to claim the 2013-14 Pac-12 title. Defending regular-season champion UCLA, guided by sophomore guard Kyle Anderson (9.7 ppg/8.6 rpg), earned one first-place vote and edged out Colorado for the second spot by one point. The Buffs, who are led by All-Pac-12 guard Spencer Dinwiddie (15.3 ppg/3.2 rpg/3.0 apg), received the remaining first-place vote.

Reigning Pac-12 Tournament champion Oregon is slotted fourth in the poll, just two points ahead of California. Stanford edges Arizona State for sixth.

Washington grabs the eighth spot, followed by the trio of Utah, Oregon State and USC, while Washington State is picked 12th.

Media have correctly picked the Conference winner 12 times in 21 tries. Arizona has correctly been selected in seven of the previous 12 times it has been slated to capture the league crown.

The 2013-14 season gets under way for the Pac-12 with 10 games on Friday, Nov. 8. Seven of those contests are home games for the Pac-12 and will air on Pac-12 Networks.

TeamPointsFirst place votes
1. Arizona27321
2. UCLA2121
3. Colorado2111
4. Oregon196
5. California194
6. Stanford166
7. Arizona State159
8. Washington121
9. Utah68
10. Oregon State67
11. USC63
12. Washington State39

October 16th

Pac-12 Media Day set for Thursday

From the Pac-12 Networks … Thursday, Oct. 17 is a glorious day for hoopheads: It’s Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Media Day, where the conference’s head coaches and one player from each team come to Pac-12 Studios in San Francisco, Calif., to talk about the upcoming season.

Starting at 11 a.m. MT, fans can watch the main stage session with the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Media Day live stream. Tweet using #pac12hoops to have your question asked of the coaches and players in attendance on your behalf.

Pac-12.com will have top-to-bottom coverage long after the live stream ends with exclusive video, photos, season storylines and more.

Pac-12 Networks will also have live coverage of the day, with each coach joining host Mike Yam and analysts Ernie Kent, Don MacLean and Jarron Collins on the set starting at 11 a.m. MT.

CU’s Tad Boyle will be on the Pac-12.com live stream at 12:20 (MT) Thursday, and live on the Pac-12 Networks at 1:00 p.m. (MT) Thursday. There will be a full recap of Tad Boyle’s interviews posted here at CU at the Game late Thursday afternoon.

October 8th

Buffs participate in “The Program” for the second consecutive year

From CUBuffs.com … U.S. service men and women are ready for anything/everything at any given moment, and some of America’s most honored veterans were on campus the weekend of Sept. 27-28 teaching the Colorado men’s basketball team those lessons and many more valuable life skills.

At the request of coach Tad Boyle, The Program – a company run by former military personnel, designed to develop leadership and teambuilding – made its second visit to Boulder in as many years.

“I thought it was really beneficial for last year’s team,” Boyle said in explaining why he brought The Program back. “This time of year, as we prepare for a long season and a tough season ahead of us – especially given our schedule – you want to do something that creates a little bit of toughness, both mentally and physically, to get your team ready for what’s ahead.”

The Program requires participants to be in top physical condition, yet the mental aspect might be the most difficult part of the experience. Boyle has fashioned a schedule that is expected to be one of the toughest in the nation, and in order for his fourth CU team to experience the success of his previous three teams, serious toughness is needed – hence the return of The Program.

Throughout last season, Boyle said he and his coaches referred to lessons learned from The Program and he doesn’t expect that to change this year. When players begin experiencing mental and physical fatigue, said Boyle, “they start thinking about themselves. The whole idea around The Program is you worry about the guy to your right and the guy to your left and being more concerned about your teammates and what they’re going through than just about yourself and that’s what being a part of a team is all about.”

THERE WAS NEVER A MOMENT of mercy for the players as they had to run to the practice fields before the real work began. Boyle joined his team for the light jog in the rain, but after that the Buffaloes only had each other to lean on.

Bad weather is to be expected when The Program comes to town, at least that’s what the Buffs believe. Last year, the team went through Log Pull/Judgment Day amidst conditions of sleet and snow where the team first learned the basics of The Program and what good leaders and teammates do. This year was Combat Mindset/Judgment Day and the weather was back, featuring only heavy rain.

Attention to detail, command presence, and accountability were the main objectives this year. The team first completed sprint work until Cila and Rutherford believed every member was giving full effort.

Next came “perfect 16’s,” and all returning players were familiar with the drill from last year’s Judgment Day. Players – 16 total – lined up in four perfect lines forming a perfect square, running through sets of push-ups, flutter kicks, jumping-jacks, etc. in perfect unison.

A player led the drill and was required to give orders – you guessed it – perfectly clear. This meant, the leader calling out the name of the exercise, “push-ups!” then the team responding in unison, “push-ups!” Leader: “ready!” Team: “ready!” And finally from the leader: “attack!” The team then began the drill, and if it failed to remain in unison or follow through on any demand, the drill had to be repeated.

This was not something accomplished on the first try, and so the nightmare began. After nearly an hour, Cila and Rutherford decided they had witnessed perfection, and they moved on to the next drill.

Full story from CUBuffs.com can be found here

October 1st

Buffs open practice … six weeks to the opener

From CUBuffs.com … The University of Colorado men’s basketball team practiced for the first time Monday morning, marking the start of the 2013-14 season. It is the earliest start date to a season in team history after the NCAA passed legislation in May allowing teams to begin practicing six weeks prior to the first game instead of the typical four weeks in the past.

“I love being out here on September 30th,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “I think it’s better for the players, too, because they’re going to get more time off . . . we’ll get a chance to get more things done between now and our first game.”

The Buffs could have actually began practicing over the weekend but instead hosted ‘The Program’, a company founded by former U.S. military personal  who work with college and professional sports teams running a variety of drills designed to put players in adverse situations testing both physical and mental toughness.

A theme to the weekend boot camp was the philosophy of attacking, and that is exactly what the coaches and players did in the spirited two-and-a-half hour session.

“It’s all about attacking,” said Boyle. “We want to attack on offense; we want to attack on defense. Defensively, we have to do it without fouling, right now were fouling a little too much but again that’s typical at this time of the season.”

There were plenty of minor issues that accompany the first day of practice, but coaches resisted as much as they possibly could when it came to critiquing the little things.

“You feel like you are trying to drink from a fire hose,” Boyle said. “Today, there are so many things you feel like you can stop at every possession and correct and teach.

“So, I think as a coach you have to find that balance between letting them play, and play through mistakes – which is what we are going to have to do, it’s what basketball is all about, you have to play through your mistakes – but yet, stop them and let them understand when they are making mistakes because you don’t want the same mistakes happening over and over again.”

The most important thing Boyle has emphasized to his players is the ability to learn from the mistakes being made by one another in order to progress at the rate necessary to be ready for the first game of the season Nov. 8 against Baylor in Dallas.

 

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