LAS VEGAS -- Following Saturday night's game against Oklahoma State, the Colorado men's basketball team will take a break.

The No. 20 Buffaloes play again Saturday, Dec. 28 when Georgia comes to Boulder, but for the next few days, the players will have an opportunity to get away and celebrate the holidays with their families.

"The main thing, the guys need to relax," said James Hardy, CU's director of basketball strength and conditioning. "We can't be on them all the time.

"It's very important to us as a staff for those guys to go home and relax and enjoy their families. I'm pretty hands-off, because I'm so hands-on when they're here. They need a break from me. They need a break from us."

During longer breaks, such as during the summer, Hardy and the staff will give the players specific things to work on during their own time. This next week, however, the message to the players is simple.

"It's what we call active recovery," Hardy said. "We want them to go out and move. We don't want them to sit on the couch for three days and eat.

"These guys are such gym rats, I guarantee 90 percent of the guys will get shots at least at one point."

As far as nutrition during the break, Hardy said the staff tells the players just to be smart, and they make sure to educate the players about some of the smarter food options during the holidays.

Ultimately, though, there isn't a lot of instruction for the players going into the break. Players need to return to Boulder by Christmas night. Until then, Hardy said the staff will let them enjoy the time off.

"They have to recharge," he said. "Our season is so long and so grinding, we don't get a lot of breaks."

Fitness levels good

Throughout the offseason, Hardy and the basketball staff works hard to make sure the Buffs are prepared to go through the rigors of a long season. To this point, Hardy said he's been pleased with how the players have handled the grind.

"Right now, I feel like we are (doing well physically)," Hardy said. "Our thing with basketball is just making it so they can last the whole season. It's such a long season. We don't want to be killing everybody at the very beginning and then taper off really hard. We really want to be able to maintain that strength and fitness level through the last game that

we play."

Booker, Gordon in lineup

CU junior guard Askia Booker and redshirt freshman forward Wesley Gordon were both in the starting lineup Saturday against Oklahoma State.

Gordon had missed the previous two games with a concussion, but returned to practice this week. Booker "tweaked" his foot against Elon on Dec. 13 and was listed as day-to-day earlier in the week.

Xavier Johnson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Josh Scott also started for the Buffs.

On display

At least 35 scouts from 23 different NBA teams were expected to be on hand for Saturday's games.

Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart figures to be the best NBA prospect among the four teams in the tournament, but his teammates, Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash, Dinwiddie, New Mexico's Kendall Williams and Marquette's Davante Gardner are considered NBA prospects, as well.


Saturday's MGM Grand Showcase, which also featured Marquette vs. New Mexico, benefits Coaches vs. Cancer. This was the first year of the event.