Every year at this time, Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle waits to see exactly who will develop into the leaders of his team.
Right now, junior guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker are taking on that role, but that could change throughout the year, Boyle said.
"I believe leadership emerges," Boyle said. "I have never been a guy that names captains early in the year. What I don't want to do is give a kid a label of captain (early) and feel like in January they aren't worthy of it and I have to take it away from them."
He also doesn't like to name captains because he feels it could prevent someone with good leadership qualities -- who wasn't named a captain -- from speaking up and helping the team at certain times of the year.
"I want everybody to have ownership in our program and everybody to have leadership opportunities in our program," Boyle said. "When things get tough, who is going to step up and take control and be vocal? That has to emerge. But I think early, Spencer and Ski are our most experienced guys and they are two very vocal guys right now, which is good."
Walking the walk
Dinwiddie has never shied away from voicing his confidence in the media, and just last week he spoke up at Pac-12 media day in San Francisco and said he believes CU should view itself as the cream of the crop in the conference.
That's OK with Boyle, with one condition.
"As long as he backs it up," Boyle said. "Confidence has never been an issue for Spencer. Part of that I like, but you better back it up. If Spencer's talking and he's not walking, we've got issues, and I've had that conversation with him."
The Buffs were projected by Pac-12 media to finish third.
Boyle preaches defense, and has a fierce loyalty to man-to-man defense. On Wednesday, he referred to zone defense as a "four-letter word."
He did admit, though, that with the new rules on hand-checking the Buffs could see more zone defenses, and might actually have to employ a zone themselves to keep key players on the floor.
"I hope not, because I love man-to-man defense," he said. "The question I am going to be faced with at times this year maybe is, are you better off playing a zone with your better players who are in foul trouble or do you stick with your principals and what you believe in and play man-to-man with three or four freshmen on the floor?"
The men's team will open its season Nov. 8 against Baylor in Dallas.