Tad Boyle's third Colorado team will have only one senior and an overall lack of college experience.

However, after just one full-team workout, it's pretty clear that the 2012-13 Buffs will play with a whole lot of swagger.

CU's ballyhooed recruiting class, comprised of six confident and talented freshmen, made a good first impression during a two-hour practice on Wednesday night at the Coors Events Center.

Veteran assistant coach Tom Abatemarco was handing out a lot of 'As' when giving the new faces verbal letter grades and pats on the back as the group emerged from ice baths in the training room on Thursday morning.

 Broomfield’s Spencer Reeb (left) guards Sierra’s Wesley Gordon (right) during their basketball game at the University of Colorado in Boulder,
Broomfield's Spencer Reeb (left) guards Sierra's Wesley Gordon (right) during their basketball game at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado March 8, 2012. CAMERA/MARK LEFFINGWELL ( MARK LEFFINGWELL )

Following back-to-back 24-win seasons and a magical March run through the Pac-12 Tournament that carried the Buffs into the NCAA Tournament, fans can't wait to see what Boyle and his staff can accomplish with a top-25 class.

Wesley Gordon, Chris Jenkins, Xavier Johnson, Josh Scott, Eli Stalzer and Xavier Talton are here to continue the recent winning tradition and perhaps take the program to even greater heights.

"They're pretty talented. They're more talented than we expected," sophomore guard Askia Booker said. "The altitude isn't kicking them in the butt too much because we haven't run that much just yet. I feel the altitude will catch up with them, but their skill level is pretty high."


Advertisement

Scott was ranked No. 61 on the rivals.com top 150 prospect list for 2012. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward/center led Lewis-Palmer High School to the 4A state title in March, averaging 28.5 points as a senior.

"I didn't think I did that well," Scott said after his first practice with all of his CU teammates. "But it was good to see what they do and how they play."

Gordon, a 6-7 power forward, was Scott's top in-state rival at Sierra High School, which lost to Lewis-Palmer in a classic championship game on Sox Walseth Court.

The two new big men on campus should be able to help Andre Roberson, the Pac-12's leading rebounder last season, take his formidable game to an even higher level.

"It's a lot of fun to be playing with Andre and finally playing with Wesley on the same team," Scott said. "We can be real good. We've got a lot of talent, and I'm excited for the future."

Johnson was ranked as the No. 75 overall prospect for 2012. The 6-7 wing from Santa Ana, Calif., has the skill set to continue the tradition established by Cory Higgins, Alec Burks and Carlon Brown.

"I think we're going to be a great team this year," said Johnson, who plans to get stronger and improve his ball handling this summer. "We've worked hard so far and it's only the summer. That just shows that in the future we're going to be even greater."

Johnson and Stalzer, a 6-3 point guard, helped lead Mater Dei to the California State Division I championship last season.

"It helps a lot," Johnson said of being joined at CU by a high school teammate. "I already know how he plays and he's a close friend of mine. I really appreciate that."

Jenkins is a 6-7 wing who was first-team all-state in Michigan after averaging 20.6 points and 8.9 rebounds for Detroit Jesuit High School. Talton is a 6-2 point guard who led Sterling to the state championship as a junior.

"It definitely makes the pick-up games more fun," sophomore point guard Spencer Dinwiddie said of the freshmen arriving on campus this week. "They bring a lot of intensity to it, and you can really see they're trying very hard and they are very skilled."

The coaching staff has invited a number of former Buffs currently playing professionally, including Burks (Utah Jazz) and Higgins (Charlotte Bobcats), back to Boulder next week to run with the next generation.

"I think it will be fun," Dinwiddie said with a Cheshire cat grin. "Beating up on some of the pros that we've got in the program is going to be real cool."

CU will depart for a foreign trip on Aug. 13 to play games against semi-professional competition in Paris, Amsterdam and Belgium.

That will give the brash young Buffs some experience playing together before the games start to count in November.

"There's a lot of potential. I think we can get good early," Booker said. "That's what I think this European trip is going to do for us. It will let us get to know each other better as soon as possible. That will help the chemistry of the team a lot."