Josh Repine holds fond memories of attending basketball games at the Coors Events Center while growing up. Beyond a few electric moments during Chauncey Billups' two seasons at Colorado, plenty of good seats generally were available.
That changed while Repine was a standout at Kent Denver. Tad Boyle arrived at CU, and in his first four seasons the Buffaloes reached the Final Four of the NIT before advancing to the NCAA Tournament three consecutive years.
In those days when Repine went to watch the Buffs, Coors was rocking. He wanted nothing more than to be part of it.
The walk-on is beginning his senior season with the Buffs, and with newcomers taking over the CU roster, Repine is providing a level of leadership far beyond the status of a player who has logged just 21 minutes over 17 appearances in three years.
"It just warms your heart when you see a kid come in as a freshman, who's maybe a little unsure of himself, maybe asking himself 'Do I belong here? Am I good enough to play here?' and they figure out through the course of their career that they're valued," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "And they learn they have a role, and they have a responsibility to put on the uniform.
"Josh Repine has accepted his role, understood his role, and has figured out as a senior especially that he's got a voice on this team."
Repine graduated from Kent Denver in 2013 and spent one season at New Hampton Prep in New Hampshire, where he was teammates with fellow CU senior Tory Miller-Stewart. Like any player of his stature, Repine could have attempted to join a mid-major or Division II program where he might have enjoyed a more active role on the floor. Instead, Repine gladly signed up for a role he understood wouldn't be glorious, all to be a part of the program he grew up cheering for.
"I love what I do," said Repine, whose late 3-pointer against Northern Colorado on Nov. 29, 2015 still counts as the only points of his CU career. "I love my role. I understand my role. Playing for coach Boyle, I'll do anything for him. I wanted to play basketball at the highest level in college. That was my dream. No regrets. I love everything about this place. My dad and I used to get tickets for free and sit four rows off the court. Then when Tad got here the culture changed and now it's something special to be a part of."
Throughout the preseason, seniors like Miller-Stewart and George King — both of whom already have played more than 90 games for the Buffs — cited Repine's leadership as a critical asset for the squad during its August tour through Italy. Repine likely will continue to set an enviable standard for a roster featuring nine players that have played even fewer minutes in a CU uniform than he has.
When discussing Repine, Boyle pointed out a sign that hangs in his team's film room about how respect is a trait that is earned, not given. It is an apt metaphor for Repine, who has emerged as a respected team leader simply by diligently putting in his hard work every day.
"Josh Repine has earned the respect of his teammates," Boyle said. "He's not earned their respect with playing time. He hasn't earned their respect necessarily with how well he shoots the ball or how high he jumps. It's all about the locker room, the practice floor, his work ethic, the weight room, letting his voice be heard and saying, 'Hey, I'm a part of this team too.' Josh's voice carries weight because he's got the respect of his teammates. And it carries weight because he's a great teammate who has worked his tail off and has done everything asked. His teammates sense that selflessness."