Physically, Lucas Siewert didn't look much like a freshman when he arrived at the University of Colorado a year ago.
With broad, thickly-layered shoulders, Siewert began his collegiate basketball career with the prototypical build for a 6-foot-10 post player. However, Siewert's pedigree always hinged on his above-average touch from the outside. As the native of Brazil prepares for his second season with the Buffaloes, Siewert will be a key component in the team's quest to replace three of its top four rebounders from a year ago.
"I just had to commit myself to really getting strong. I was trying to get in the weight room pretty much every day whenever I could fit it in my schedule," Siewert said. "When we play pickup I feel a lot more comfortable with my post moves. I wouldn't say it was new, but I didn't work on (post moves) as much as I do now. The more versatile I am, the better it is. I've never thought about it that way before because I always played on the perimeter."
A year ago Siewert made a memorable debut with the Buffs in the 2016-17 opener, knocking down all three of his 3-point attempts while also grabbing five rebounds off the bench. The growing pains struck quickly, though. Siewert reached that rebounding total only once more over the next 17 games, and during that same span he went just 2-for-16 on 3-pointers.
As the team-wide frustration mounted during an 0-7 start in the Pac-12 Conference, head coach Tad Boyle gave a number of his reserves the starting assignments in a Jan. 26 home game against Oregon State. Siewert was one of the players who responded, displaying an improved level of aggression while grabbing four of his five rebounds on the offensive glass. That performance seemingly sparked a stronger finish to his freshman season for Siewert, who twice matched his season-best six rebounds down the stretch while also recording a 4-for-5 performance from 3-point range in a home win against Stanford.
Siewert still finished the season with a rebounding average of just 2.1. That has a change for a player who ranks as the second-tallest player on the roster. Boyle reports Siewert made strides in the rebounding department on the team's four-game run of exhibitions in August in Italy, where Siewert averaged six rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game.
"On the Italy trip I thought he rebounded the ball better," Boyle said. "He's being a little more physical this year than he was last year, mixing it up inside. Lucas has made some nice moves. But now the next step is finishing. He's a very capable shooter, but he has to become a more consistent shooter. Consistency is probably a theme with this team. A lot of that is being young, but being young is not going to be an excuse for us. We've got talented guys who are young.
"Our challenge as a coaching staff, and our senior class, is to get these young guys up to speed and be consistent day in, day out."