Late last season, as D'Shawn Schwartz started getting a little more playing time while knocking down the occasional big 3-pointer, the message he kept getting from head coach Tad Boyle remained the same.
In order for Schwartz to fully realize the promise that made him the highest-ranked recruit in Colorado's highest-ranked recruiting class, Schwartz needed to become more dynamic offensively and more aggressive on the glass.
That message hasn't changed.
As one of several Buffaloes players aiming to make a significant jump forward in their second season at CU, Schwartz is facing the same challenges this preseason he was left with at the end of his freshman season in becoming more than just a long-range shooting threat for the Buffs.
"I need to be more aggressive and impose my will a little more," Schwartz said. "I'm going to try and do that. Try to be more vocal, try to be a better leader for the younger guys. I would hope that teams would see me as a shooter now. I'll get harder close-outs and try to shot-fake and get to the rim more.
"Just getting stronger, getting a better Pac-12 body. That's the biggest change I've had coming in. That's what I really wanted to work on. It's going to help me in rebounding, guarding, all that stuff. We're super excited. Everyone on the roster can play at this level, and it's very exciting when you have a team that's this deep. We can do some great things."
The only in-state recruit in the Buffs' vaunted 2017 recruiting class, the 6-foot-7 guard from Colorado Springs certainly showed glimpses of why he was ranked 69th among the ESPN100 for the 2017 recruiting class. Schwartz went 2-for-3 from 3-point range in the Buffs' upset win at home against Arizona and also hit a key 3-pointer a week later in CU's impressive road win at UCLA. He shot a solid .383 on 3-pointers (18-for-47) and .737 at the free throw line, albeit in only 19 attempts. Schwartz also protected the ball better than any of his teammates, committing just 10 turnovers in 418 minutes.
However, Schwartz struggled to fully utilize his sizeable wingspan and impressive all-around skills. Three-point attempts accounted for 52.2 percent of Schwartz's overall field goal attempts, a ratio that trailed only since-graduated guard Dom Collier (58.7) and junior guard Deleon Brown (53.5), neither of whom boast Schwartz's potential as an all-around scorer. Schwartz also averaged only 1.8 rebounds and compiled just nine assists and three steals all season.
Skill-wise, Schwartz is an ideal candidate to make up for a solid portion of the 62 made 3-pointers and 7.8 rebounds per game left behind by NBA second-round pick George King. But he hasn't shown it yet.
"D'Shawn Schwartz — aggressiveness offensively and don't play afraid to make a mistake," Boyle said. "Aggressiveness on offense, rock solid on defense, and he's got to help us rebound the ball. When he's open, he can shoot it. He's shown some really good things here early in terms of being aggressive and attacking the rim. He's done a good job in the weight room. I think he's a lot more confident in his strength and his body this year.
"He's got to be able to finish when he gets in that lane. Because we know when he's open and he shoots it, it's usually a pretty good result."