Dom Collier understands he is drawing a demanding assignment for the Colorado Buffaloes' season opener.
That, of course, can be said for the entirety of the CU roster, as the Buffs begin the 2015-16 men's basketball schedule Friday afternoon against No. 7 Iowa State in Sioux Falls, S.D. (3 p.m. MST, ESPN2).
Yet while the Cyclones boast a preseason AP All-American in senior forward Georges Niang, they also feature an experienced and talented guard in Monte Morris. Much of the responsibility for slowing him down will fall on Collier's shoulders.
"We've had our two scrimmages and I think we did really well in those," Collier said. "I think we're just ready to get to the first game. It's a huge opportunity, but we're looking at it as another game. That's how we're approaching it."
Both Collier and Morris trained at the Chauncey Billups Elite Basketball Academy this past summer but, according to Collier, he was absent the day Morris was at the camp.
Instead, Collier turned to a familiar face for a scouting report on what to expect from Morris. Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins, a Colorado native and a former player at Regis Jesuit High School, crossed paths with Morris at the camp. Collier was quick to pick the brain of his old friend for advice.
"(Perkins) told me a lot about him," Collier said. "I knew we were going to be playing him the first game, so I asked about him. He gave me a lot of insight on him. They say he's a really solid player, but (Perkins) said I'd be fine with him. I think (Morris) is a really good player too, just from watching film and hearing about him.
"We've got to play solid on him and be ready to play on Friday. I just have to be smart and move my feet and not make silly fouls. I just have to be smart on defense and keep him in front of me."
Morris started 51 games over his first two seasons, including all 34 last year in a campaign that ended with a 25-9 record for the Cyclones. Morris averaged 11.9 points last year — second on the club behind Niang — and shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range (32 for 81).
On Tuesday CU head coach Tad Boyle did not commit to naming any starters beyond Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon. Yet make no mistake — Collier is the player everyone surrounding the program hopes will take firm hold of the point guard job and run with it. And that challenge begins against Morris.
"They start four seniors, and the Morris kid is a junior but might as well be a senior because he's played so many minutes and so many big games," Boyle said. "Their top seven guys have a lot of experience. They've played a lot of big games."