Lost in the shock of freshman Evan Battey being ruled academically ineligible for the Colorado men's basketball team in 2017-18 was coach Tad Boyle's assertion that, if he had his way, he wouldn't have redshirted any of his players during the upcoming season.
With five true freshmen in the mix alongside two sophomores and a redshirt freshman in 7-footer Dallas Walton, there will be a numbers crunch for a rotation certain to include all three seniors as well as junior transfer Namon Wright.
Just a few weeks ago Boyle made the assertion that a good player and potential contributor likely will be spending a lot of time on the bench. But on Thursday, when announcing Battey's situation, Boyle also said the glut of newcomers and the uncertainty that always surrounds rookies has CU's leader believing he needs all able bodies available this season.
"The youth of this team concerns me because you just don't know what you're going to have," Boyle said. "You don't know who's going to kind of raise to the forefront. Ideally I'd like to have two guys redshirt from a numbers standpoint, from a chemistry standpoint. But because of our youth, because of our inexperience, I want to have more hands on deck rather than less."
Given various statements Boyle has made throughout the preseason, the only potential candidate besides Battey for a redshirt this year was Serbian freshman guard Lazar Nikolic. Boyle previously nixed the possibility of using a move that served senior George King well a few years ago by redshirting one of his sophomores, Deleon Brown and Lucas Siewert. And he also previously stated the three freshmen who competed with the team during its summer exhibition tour through Italy — McKinley Wright, Tyler Bey, and D'Shawn Schwartz — had inside tracks toward rotation spots.
It is probably a bit of a stretch to predict the starting lineup for the Nov. 10 opener against Northern Colorado based on Saturday's open scrimmage — a more pertinent clue might be revealed with the starters for Monday's home exhibition against Colorado Mines—but the two units on the floor at the Coors Events Center had the feel of a starters-versus-backups setup.
The black squad, which generally owned the scoreboard advantage, started McKinley Wright, Namon Wright, Tory Miller-Stewart, Dom Collier, and King. The gold starting lineup featured Brown, Bey, Nikolic, Schwartz, and Walton.
Unlike previous seasons, Boyle did not mix-and-match combinations throughout the scrimmage, leaving each team intact during the four 10-minute quarters. The black team claimed victory with a 79-65 decision.
"I wanted to get a little bit of continuity today, so we didn't mix them up," Boyle said. "We mix them up at practice daily."
Boyle didn't have an immediate assessment of the performance on Saturday morning, preferring to wait until he has had an opportunity to review the video.
"I thought there were some good things. We shot the ball well," Boyle said. "Not sure what that says about our defense. If I'm happy with what the black team did I'm disappointed with what the gold team did, and vice versa. What I'm really anxious to see is who's really committed on the defensive end."
Denver East star Daylen Kountz, who made a verbal commitment to the Buffs earlier this fall, was in attendance for Saturday's scrimmage...Tickets for Monday night's exhibition against Mines are $10 for reserved seating and $5 for general admission. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.