The group helped turn Team Colorado's entry in The Basketball Tournament into an annual tradition, making the summer workouts in Boulder a bridge between Colorado basketball stars of the past with coach Tad Boyle's current roster.
For many, the 2018 edition of Team Colorado will be the final go-around for that original group.
Next month, Team Colorado — the group of CU basketball alums who compete annually in the $2 million winner-take-all, ESPN-sponsored The Basketball Tournament — will again hold its pre-tourney workouts in Colorado. While some roster tweaks may still unfold, the bulk of the 2018 team is intact, with several familiar faces expected to fill the rotation.
However, with guys getting older the inevitable changing of the guard is looking as if it is just one year away.
"For the guys playing overseas, their basketball season typically is nine to 10 months. If they're overseas for nine or 10 months and they come home in the summer and they have two or three months, it's hard for me to put the pressure on them to want to play and want to be part of this thing," said former CU player Beau Gamble, who once again is serving as one of Team Colorado's general managers.
"You go from having 60 days guaranteed of vacation and rest before you're back to your grind of training camp for your next season. If you're going to do this, you're not going to have any down time at all. That's the hardest part of getting the highest-level guys because they have to take care of their bodies. It just shows the commitment we get from guys like Austin Dufault, who is just finishing up his sixth year of playing pro."
One player who is a casualty of the scenario outlined by Gamble is former CU standout forward Josh Scott, who will not compete with Team Colorado this summer. Scott was a celebrated addition to the alumni team last year but, due to a conflicting schedule with the NBA Summer League, Scott played in only one game with his fellow former Buffs, appearing in the club's Sweet 16 loss.
Scott averaged 18.4 points in 49 games this past season with Shimane SM in Japan. Scott played the previous season, his first as a pro, in Macedonia.
Along with Dufault, a number of Team Colorado veterans are returning to the mix. The core includes Michel Morandais, Richard Roby, Shannon Sharpe, Calvin Williams, and Marcus Relphorde. Additionally, guards James Wright and 2016 CU graduate Xavier Talton are planning to compete.
Last year the former Buffs received an automatic bid by virtue of Team Colorado's run to the 2016 title game, and this year the club needs a requisite number of fan votes on The Basketball Tournament's website to secure an automatic invitation. However, Gamble remains confident Team Colorado will nonetheless receive an at-large bid if the voting falls short, given the team's run to the final two years ago and last year's Sweet 16 berth.
Gamble also indicated this likely will be the final Team Colorado excursion for players like Williams, Dufault, Roby, and Morandais, paving the way for more Boyle-era players to perhaps land on the roster next year.
"This will be the last year for that core group of guys that started with us in year one," Gamble said. "They're getting older. A lot of guys have said this is their last swing at this thing. Next year we'll have probably a fresh, new roster with a couple of younger guys. But Marcus Hall is probably going to play until he's 40."