During his freshman year at Colorado, Jaron Hopkins provided some of the most impressive highlight reel moments for the Buffaloes.
He dunked over NBA first-round pick C.J. Wilcox of the Washington Huskies. He had an alley-oop dunk at Pauley Pavilion against UCLA. He had two alley-oop dunks in his first career start against Jackson State.
"That was the fun part of the game," Hopkins said.
With plays like that, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound Hopkins put his tremendous athleticism on display.
As he looks to the future, Hopkins is hoping to provide a few more of those plays, but his focus is on improving his all-around game.
"I'd rather be able to run a team for a full game and win games, instead of just the highlight reels," he said. "It's more fun to win games than the highlight stuff."
While the dunks were fun to watch, Hopkins was more than a highlight reel last year. He often provided a great spark off the bench, and he proved to be a solid perimeter defender.
In fact, Hopkins said the best moment of his season was when head coach Tad Boyle began assigning him to cover the opposition's best player.
"I felt like I could lock down and be the best defender possible with my length and height," said Hopkins, who was assigned to guard the likes of Andrew Wiggins at Kansas, Arizona's Nick Johnson and Wilcox. "That was probably where I felt like I should be here and I fit in."
Inconsistency plagued him, but neither he nor the Buffs are worried about that. Most freshmen go through those ups and downs.
"I thought Jaron had a great freshman year, perfect for where he is in his career," associate head coach Jean Prioleau said. "He had a great freshman year and now he's another one that will continue to grow."
Never known as a great shooter, Hopkins made just 38.2 percent of his field goals, including 31.0 percent from 3-point range. He was also just a 50-percent shooter from the free throw line. As is the case with all the Buffs, Hopkins is hoping to improve upon his shooting this offseason.
Hopkins is also looking forward to competing for a starting position at guard, and hopes to be able to run the team from the point during his sophomore season. Last season, he had 36 assists and 38 turnovers.
When point guard Spencer Dinwiddie suffered a season-ending injury on Jan. 12, Hopkins initially got the starting job. He struggled in his five starts, though, posting three assists and 14 turnovers.
"The low point was when I struggled shooting the ball or running the team and turning the ball over sometimes in games," he said. "That really shifted my confidence."
A few months removed from his freshman season, Hopkins said he has regained full confidence in his game and he's eager to prove himself as a sophomore.
"I'm feeling good, because my ball handling has improved tremendously," Hopkins said. "I think I can get to the rack way more easily than I did my freshman year, because the game is starting to slow down for me.
"I thought I had a good freshman year. I was just getting my feet wet. I have the experience now and I can just take what I learned from last year and be able to apply it this year."