Eventually, Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle will have to deal with a numbers problem.
As the Buffaloes begin their third week of preseason workouts ahead of the Nov. 10 season-opener at home against Northern Colorado, the battle for a spot in the rotation rages on. While the Buffs still have more than three weeks and an Oct. 30 exhibition game against Colorado Mines to sort through the manpower questions, the gap slowly is closing for the new-look Buffs to stake their respective claims for playing time.
On the surface, CU appears to have 12 candidates for a playing rotation that will not be that deep. The four upperclassmen — seniors George King, Tory Miller-Stewart, and Dom Collier, along with junior Namon Wright — are virtual locks to play significant minutes. That leaves sophomores Deleon Brown and Lucas Siewert to battle the six freshmen — Dallas Walton (a redshirt freshman), McKinley Wright, Tyler Bey, D'Shawn Schwartz, Evan Battey, and Lazar Nikolic — for playing time in a rotation that is unlikely to be deeper than 10 players at most.
Among that group of younger Buffs, McKinley Wright, Bey, and Schwartz seemingly have inside tracks at spots in the rotation. That leaves five players in the mix for up to three rotation spots.
One creative answer would be to redshirt one of the sophomores, Brown or Siewert, in a move that paid huge dividends for King three years ago. Boyle, however, dismissed that idea as a flat no in Siewert's case while also saying it was a highly unlikely scenario for Brown.
"Because we're so young, I don't know what's going to happen," Boyle said. "It's not only a matter of having confidence in the freshmen. It's, can they stay healthy? You've got to be able to withstand injury in the frontcourt and injury in the backcourt and still have the depth to go 10 deep. That's where it gets a little tricky.
"There's going to be some guys who are pretty good players who aren't going to be playing."
King took a second-year redshirt during the 2014-15 season after averaging 1.5 points and 5.5 minutes in 27 games as a true freshman in 2013-14. After his year on the sideline he led the Pac-12 Conference in 3-point percentage during the 2015-16 season and won the league's Most Improved Player award.