Alec Burks returned to Boulder for more cheers.

The former Buffs scoring machine and current Utah Jazz rookie was recognized on Saturday during Colorado's football game at Folsom Field for his achievements on the hardwood the past two seasons.

It turns out Burks -- who left school for the NBA with two years of eligibility remaining -- isn't the only talented young player Tad Boyle will be without during CU's inaugural season in the Pac-12.

Damiene Cain, a 6-7 freshman forward who was expected to bolster CU's post play, has decided not to play for the Buffs after all.

Colorado’s Tad Boyle reacts to getting called for a technical foul during a game against Nebraska last season.
Colorado's Tad Boyle reacts to getting called for a technical foul during a game against Nebraska last season. ( Dave Weaver )

"The more you see kids play, sometimes the less you like them. Their deficiencies show and the warts kind of come to the surface. Whereas with Damiene, the more we watched him play the more we liked him," Boyle said earlier this summer when asked about Cain's potential impact. "He can pass the ball and he can shoot the ball. I saw him step out and hit a couple threes, and that was kind of the icing on the cake for me, because I knew what he could do on the block. He's going to give us something in terms of low post scoring that we need."

The Buffs return 6-7 sophomore Andre Roberson, who averaged 6.7 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game. Shane Harris-Tunks, a 6-11 center, is healthy and ready to resume his career after missing the 2010-11 season with a knee injury.


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Austin Dufault, a 6-9 senior, has started 95 games and averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds last season. Senior Trey Eckloff (6-10) and sophomore Ben Mills (7-0) add some size off the bench.

But losing Cain -- who is enrolled at CU this semester and wants to focus on academics -- will make Boyle's job more difficult as he prepares for life without Burks (20.5 ppg) and graduated seniors Cory Higgins (16.1 ppg), Levi Knutson (11.7 ppg) and Marcus Relphorde (11.2 ppg).

"Damiene and I have had numerous conversations over the past two weeks in regards to where basketball fits in his life," Boyle said in a release. "The health, happiness and well-being of our players is always a paramount concern. Damiene Cain is a terrific young man, and we support him in his decision."

Cain averaged 14.4 points and 10.9 rebounds as a senior at Harvard Westlake (Calif.) High School.

"After careful consideration, I have decided not to play basketball on the collegiate level," Cain said. "On a personal note, I feel it's best for me to pursue a college degree without the restrictions and demands that come with being a student-athlete. I wish to thank all the people at University of Colorado and my family for their support in this decision."

Boyle's other two true freshmen from the Los Angeles area -- Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker -- are both on campus working out and preparing to contribute in 2011-12.

Dinwiddie, 6-5, is a true point guard who averaged 11.2 points and 7.7 assists at Taft High School and was named the Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year.

"I told Spencer when I was recruiting him that the only negative I can say about him is that he's not aggressive enough. I want him to score more," Boyle said. "Because he's a pass-first guy, but he's got all the skills necessary to be a terrific player in the Pac-12. He's got the length and the size and athleticism and will be a great defensive player. And he can play multiple positions."

Booker is a 6-1 guard who has been taking advantage of CU's new practice facility.

"Askia Booker is the consummate gym rat. Every time we've made a recruiting call to Askia to try to talk to him his mom would always say, 'He's at the gym, call back in an hour or two,'" Boyle said. "Sometimes you call back in an hour or two and he still wasn't home. He's one of those guys where you just know he has the work ethic."

The Buffs return point guards Nate Tomlinson and Shannon Sharpe. There are also three transfers -- Jeremy Adams (Texas A&M), Carlon Brown (Utah) and Sabatino Chen (Denver) -- who are eligible to play and eager to help fill the void at the wing positions.

Former Fairview High School guard Beau Gamble has also been welcomed to the program as a walk-on.

The Buffs hosted several promising recruits for 2012 over the weekend, and the coaching staff is on the road looking to add to the class, which is already ranked in the top 20 by ESPN.

CU opens the season on Nov. 11 against Fort Lewis at the Coors Events Center.