A look at the four newcomers set to join the CU men's basketball team next season.
Derrick White: After blossoming into a Division II All-American at UCCS, White opted to tackle the challenge of Division I basketball with his final year of eligibility. White practiced with the Buffs all season and is expected to make a significant impact at both ends of the floor next season.
Deleon Brown: A native of Michigan, Brown spent this past season at highly regarded Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. The left-hander averaged 11 points for Brewster and drew more than 30 charges on defense.
Bryce Peters: An explosive scorer with an impressive all-around game for Damien High in La Verne, Calif., Peters averaged 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists this year while shooting 49 percent from the field and 84 percent at the free throw line.
Dallas Walton: The 7-footer from Arvada West could be a candidate for a redshirt with his slight build and recent history of knee surgeries, but a CU team with only Wes Gordon and Tory Miller as proven commodities up front may not have that luxury. Walton averaged 16.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks for the Wildcats while hitting 59 percent of his shots.
"We'll be back here."
With those parting words Colorado men's basketball head coach Tad Boyle left the interview podium following his team's first-round loss against UConn in the NCAA Tournament, immediately turning his sights on 2016-17.
Boyle would be the first person to say the Buffs are ready for more. Four tournament appearances in five seasons have resulted in just one tourney win and three consecutive first-round exits.
A penchant for squandering late leads prevented the Buffs from contending for the regular-season throne in the Pac-12 Conference. That shortcoming struck again as UConn ended CU's season on Thursday. Yet despite the loss of senior leader Josh Scott — and his 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game — the Buffs should be well-armed for another tournament run.
The addition of transfer Derrick White and likely return of senior Xavier Johnson from a season-long absence from a torn Achilles, combined with promising newcomers joining the fold in the backcourt, will heighten the Buffs' overall talent level next season.
How a cast of returnees who held either new or expanded roles in 2015-16 — George King, Dom Collier, Josh Fortune, Tory Miller, Tre'Shaun Fletcher and Thomas Akyazili — learns from this year's growing pains will be critical in the quest to turn that increased talent into increased success.
"We've got a lot of guys coming back," Boyle said. "We lose two players, but we had two good players sitting out. The future of Colorado basketball is bright. The future of Colorado basketball is in good hands in terms of the players we have in this program and the ones that are coming in.
"We have two guys who were sitting out, Derrick White and Xavier Johnson, who are very good players. The future of this program is in great shape with what we have coming back and the experience these guys got this year. But now we have to ask ourselves, 'What's it going to take to get to the next level?' We have to learn how to finish games and finish halves."
White practiced with the Buffs all season after moving to Boulder from Division II Colorado-Colorado Springs. A versatile scorer, White is expected to immediately join CU's rotation of wing players and should improve the team's perimeter defense.
Johnson, of course, would have been a focal point this year of not for the injury he suffered last summer. Though his return is not yet official, all indications are that the Buffs will be welcoming back a veteran who has averaged 10.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 95 career games.
The Buffs also will add a three-player freshman class of guards Deleon Brown and Bryce Peters, in addition to Arvada West 7-footer Dallas Walton. Boyle has repeatedly praised the potential of Brown and Peters, who are expected to push for playing time immediately. Walton has made a verbal commitment to the Buffs and is expected to sign his letter of intent next month.
Brown spent this season with Brewster Academy, a highly regarded prep school in New Hampshire, and averaged 11 points a game for a team that went 25-10. He also was a premier defender, leading his team with more than 30 charges taken.
Peters shot 49 percent from the field for Damien High School in La Verne, Calif., averaging 22 points, five assists, and four rebounds per game.
"They're good players," Boyle said. "They're going to be good players at Colorado."