Over the past few seasons, Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle generally has been consistent in the timing of his decisions on redshirting players, typically allowing the preseason to play out before making those particular determinations closer to the season opener.
The Buffaloes' Nov. 10 opener at home against Northern Colorado remains a little more than three weeks away, yet on Wednesday Boyle indicated those personnel decisions will be made a bit sooner than expected.
"We'll redshirt at least one person, maybe more. We'll see," Boyle said Wednesday during the team's annual media day. "I'll have an announcement on that probably late this week or probably early next week."
Earlier this week, Boyle shot down the idea that either of his sophomores, guard Deleon Brown and forward Lucas Siewert, could be candidates for the sort of second-year redshirt that paid huge dividends for George King three years ago. He also indicated earlier in the preseason that the three freshmen who competed for the Buffs during the team's four-game trip through Italy in August — McKinley Wright, Tyler Bey, and D'Shawn Schwartz — had inside tracks at securing spots in the rotation.
By process of elimination, that leaves only freshmen Evan Battey and Lazar Nikolic as candidates to sit out the 2017-18 season.
Both players certainly could help the Buffs this year. Battey is a 6-foot-8, 283-pound forward who not only is surprisingly light on his feet, but who owns soft hands and a solid shooting touch. Nikolic, a 6-foot-7 guard from Serbia, has long arms and the skill-set of a point guard in a small forward's body.
However, neither player was able to compete with the Buffs in Italy, with Battey going down with a sprained ankle just before the trip and Nikolic even missing the 10 practices leading up to the trip due to NCAA clearninghouse issues that eventually forced him to miss the first week of classes.
A case could be made that Battey would benefit from a year in the weight room not unlike the physical transformation undertaken by 7-foot redshirt freshman Dallas Walton last year, and with Siewert, Tory Miller-Stewart, and Walton in the mix in the frontcourt, a fourth forward may not crack the rotation. Nikolic may encounter a numbers crunch along the wing, with King, Bey, Schwartz, and Namon Wright all but certain to be part of the playing rotation.