President Barack Obama stepped off Air Force One, saluted the military personnel at Buckley Air Force Base, and then headed right for a University of Colorado welcome committee that included football coach Jon Embree and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

But the president's favorite pastime is basketball.

Even though Tad Boyle wasn't on the tarmac, Obama recognized assistants Jean Prioleau, Rodney Billups and Bill Cartun.

"It was almost like he knew us," Billups said. "He walked right over and shook hands with coach Prioleau and said, "I know who you are. You guys beat up on my brother-in-law.'"

That would be Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, who is the head coach at Oregon State.

The Buffs did cruise to an 82-60 victory over the Beavers on Feb. 2 in Boulder. However, Oregon State returned the favor with an 83-69 win in the regular-season finale on March 3 in Corvallis.

CU rebounded in remarkable fashion with four consecutive wins in Los Angeles to capture the Pac-12 Tournament title. That wasn't enough for Obama to get on the bandwagon; the presidential NCAA Tournament bracket had UNLV advancing.

"We knew that from the jump," freshman guard Askia Booker said with a laugh. "If I ever got a chance to talk to Obama I would confront him about that. I'm happy that we did come out on top against UNLV, and hopefully the president's eyes opened up for next time."

If there is a next time. This is an election year after all.


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Booker, Andre Roberson and Spencer Dinwiddie all stood in the crowd behind Obama during his address on Tuesday night at the Coors Events Center. Boyle took his mom to the speech instead of joining the other coaches at Buckley Air Force Base.

"I never thought I'd get a chance to see the president in person," Booker said. "It was a good experience."

Dinwiddie appeared to faint during the speech inside the stifling-hot arena. The 6-5 freshman guard had to be helped off the stage by Secret Service agents.

On his Twitter account, Dinwiddie posted: "dehydrated and it was hot up there and I blacked out." CU senior forward Trey Eckloff posted a picture of a mock Daily Camera headline on the timeline that read: "Obama too hot for Dinwiddie."

Dinwiddie walked into the Coors Events Center on Thursday for a workout carrying a gallon jug of water.

Javon Coney, a senior on the 2010-11 Buffs team that made it to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden, can top that story.

During Memorial Day weekend two years ago, Coney had a chance to play in the presidential pick-up game in Chicago. His father, Lester, served on Obama's national finance committee during the 2008 campaign.

"You don't think about it. You're very cautious about not banging him too hard," Coney told the Daily Camera when asked what it's like guarding the most powerful man in the free world. "At the same time, you're comfortable that everyone is playing like normal guys in a normal pick-up game at a health club or whatever."

About 24 hours after CU athletic director Mike Bohn hosted a reunion for the C-Unit at The Sink, the president grabbed a bite at the popular eatery on University Hill.

"I was nervous at first," Billups said of meeting Obama. "But when he started speaking it was almost like I'd known him for years."