Rarely has Tad Boyle had to rely heavily on the contributions on true freshmen through the first seven seasons of his tenure as the Colorado men's basketball coach.
That should change next season. And Tyler Bey has as good a chance as any of the newbies to make a significant contribution at the opening tip of his career.
This week three of the five players in the Buffaloes' talented and intriguing 2017 freshman class — Bey, McKinley Wright, and Colorado Springs native D'Shawn Schwartz — arrived in Boulder to begin the process of getting acquainted with their teammates on the court while taking their first college course off the court.
The 6-foot-7 Bey adds what the Buffs hope will be a dynamic element to their array of wing players, with the southern California native already drawing an impressive comparison to a recent CU great from his new head coach.
"Tyler is a guy who probably, physically and talent-wise, has got the most upside as anybody in our freshman class," Boyle said. "How quickly he can adjust to the college game and the college lifestyle, that is going to be the key. But Tyler is a guy who is as close to Andre Roberson as we've had coming into our program.
"The difference is Tyler is a guy who can be a threat behind the 3-point line. He can shoot the ball. He can rebound it. He's athletic. He's long. He's 6-7 and he can play multiple positions. He can guard multiple positions. He's terrific in terms of his upside."
Given he was home-schooled through high school, the lone class Bey is taking during his summer session might prove to be the most advantageous part of his adjustment to Boulder. Basketball-wise, Bey competed with the prestigious Middlebrooks Academy and has been an AAU teammate with another incoming CU freshman, Evan Battey.
Given the five freshmen and three additional players coming off redshirt seasons — freshmen Dallas Walton and Alex Strating, along with Missouri transfer Namon Wright — a busy summer that includes a four-game exhibition trip through Italy in August might be a key springboard to whatever success the new-look Buffs enjoy during the 2017-18 season.
"I just want to do whatever it takes to get this team wins, and whatever coach Boyle wants me to do and bring energy to the team," Bey said. "It's a big challenge. You jump right in and you don't know what to expect. Now that we're here we're going to have better chemistry than most guys. We'll get to play early (in Italy) and all that.
"I feel that coach Boyle wants us to come in and in class doing what we've got to do, on the floor doing what we've got to do. We've pretty much just got to get the job done. I want to play defense as much as I can. I want to get better at it."
The final two pieces of CU's 2017 freshman class will join the team later this summer. Battey's high school has not yet held its graduation, and Serbian guard Lazar Nikolic is scheduled to remain in Europe until August.