With Andre Roberson, the Colorado men's basketball team could have been a top-15 team in the preseason polls next season.
"We're going to be fine. Our program is in good shape," head coach Tad Boyle said.
Boyle and Buff Nation certainly weren't thrilled to see Roberson announce Sunday that he will skip his senior season and enter the 2013 NBA draft. After all, Roberson might be the best rounder the program has ever had, and he would be considered among the top all-around defenders in program history, too.
Then again, Boyle didn't build the Buffs into an annual NCAA Tournament contender on the strength of Roberson alone.
"I've said this before and I'll say it now: We're going to be good with Andre and we're going to be good without Andre," Boyle said. "We may not be as good or as experienced without him, but we prepared for this day back in November when we signed the (recruiting) class that we signed."
Roberson finished second in the nation with 11.2 rebounds per game, while also contributing 10.9 points per game. Aside from Roberson, the only other Buff to average at least five rebounds was freshman Josh Scott (5.7), so Boyle said his players will have to pick up the slack. The good news, Boyle said, is that the Buffs have the players to do that.
"We're not going to replace him with one person as a rebounder," Boyle said. "I could be wrong, but I don't think we're going to have one person on our team that's all of a sudden going to become the second leading rebounder in the country. But, I think we can make up for Andre's rebounding numbers by committee."
That committee could be led by 6-foot-6 Xavier Johnson, who averaged 8.9 points and 4.8 rebounds as a true freshman last season. Incoming freshman Dustin Thomas and redshirt freshman Wesley Gordon, both 6-foot-8 forwards, will also be asked to fill in the gaps.
"In terms of the position that (Roberson) plays, we're in great shape," Boyle said. "Xavier Johnson brings a lot of the things to the table that Andre brought. Dustin Thomas, coming in as an incoming freshman, brings a lot of the things to the table that Andre did."
Boyle is confident the Buffs can find ways to make up for the loss to Roberson's stats, but said CU will certainly miss their star.
"We will replace Andre's production," he said. "What we can't replace is Andre's experience."
That said, Boyle is excited to see what next season brings, even without Roberson on the court.
"When one person leaves, it opens the door for somebody else to step up," Boyle said. "When you look at our program over the last two-three years, it happens. I don't foresee next year being any different."
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