There were times last season when Josh Fortune turned nail-biters into comfortable victories for the Colorado Buffaloes with his silky smooth 3-point shot.

There were other times, though, when a series of poorly-conceived passes from Fortune helped turn those same nail-biters in the wrong direction for the CU basketball team.

Heading into his final season of college basketball, the Buffs' fifth-year senior is looking to iron out those wrinkles to his bring his other skills to the same level of consistency as his deadly outside shot.

"I really wanted to get stronger," Fortune said. "I wanted to add muscle to my frame and just continue with the same skills I've been doing all my life with shooting, dribbling, and passing."

Fortune's outside shot became a steady presence for CU last year, with his .385 percentage from 3-point range ranking 15th in the Pac-12 Conference. Yet for every torrid shooting performance Fortune put together like the ones he enjoyed in home wins against Stanford (5-for-7 3-pointers, season-high 21 points) and Arizona State (6-for-8 from the floor, 17 points) there were nights where Fortune's erratic passing stymied the Buffs offense.

That certainly wasn't the first impression Fortune gave early last season in his return to action following his transfer from Providence. Billed as a spot-up shooter, Fortune impressed early as a play-maker, reaching a career-high assist total of six in three of the season's first eight games. Through the first 11 games Fortune posted 39 assists against only 19 turnovers.


Perhaps inspired by that strong start, Fortune soon began forcing too many passes. In 18 league games Fortune compiled 45 turnovers with only 30 assists. Although Fortune knocked down 3-of-5 shots overall in the Buffs' loss against UConn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, he was unable to get off a single 3-point attempt and finished with one assist and five turnovers.

The memory has lingered throughout the offseason, and Fortune has kept that UConn game in mind while sweating through his reps in the weight room. He expects to make better decisions with the ball as a senior.

"I don't think I tried too hard. I think it was just a matter of making the right decision, which obviously I had a little trouble with last year," Fortune said. "I've gotten better at it through the summer. That's what I focused on. Knowing that and knowing what I did wrong, I can only get better from that."

Fortune spend the first two-thirds of his initial season with CU rotating among two starting spots with George King and Tre'Shaun Fletcher, who transferred to Toledo following last season. While it is far too early to speculate on who coach Tad Boyle will peg for his initial starting five, with King back and a far more versatile Derrick White in the mix, Fortune may be relegated to a bench role for the Buffs.

Regardless, Boyle also expects the sharpshooter's efficiency to increase if Fortune can limit his turnovers.

"The biggest thing with Josh Fortune is to simplify the game," Boyle said. "Don't try to make plays you can't make. Just make simple plays. When he makes simple plays, he's a great player. When he makes difficult plays or plays he's unable to make, that's when the turnovers start."

Pat Rooney: or