With momentum on his side, Lucas Siewert was ready to embrace the offseason with an eye on continuing the much-improved play he flashed down the stretch of the 2017-18 season.
First, though, his body required a little maintenance.
Shortly after his sophomore season, the Colorado Buffaloes' 6-foot-10 forward endured minor surgery to correct bone spurs in his right ankle. The setback stemmed from an ankle injury Siewert suffered early last season that forced him to the sideline for two games. It was a momentary blip after a stellar stretch run that has Siewert eyeing even bigger things this season.
"I wasn't happy with the way I was playing and I knew I could bring a lot more to the table than what I was doing," Siewert said. "I just started being more confident, more comfortable, on the floor and it worked out well for me last season. I'm hoping to build on that this season."
Siewert finished his sophomore season averaging 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds, but those numbers obscure the impressive push the native of Brazil put together down the stretch. Over the final 11 games last season, Siewert reached double-figure points eight times, averaging 11.6 points and 4.1 rebounds during that span.
Siewert also finished with a stellar .448 mark from 3-point range (30-for-67), and head coach Tad Boyle is confident the junior can play a huge role in whatever success the Buffs enjoy this season.
"What I want to see from Lucas on the court is just a commitment to rebounding the ball," Boyle said. "I know he can shoot the ball. Every time Lucas is open, I want him to shoot it. But a commitment to rebounding, a commitment to being a great post defender.
"If you look at this team, and you say, 'OK, give me one or two x-factors,' Lucas Siewert is an x-factor for us"
The Buffs traveled to Texas on Friday to take on SMU in a closed scrimmage. Last year a CU roster dotted liberally with freshmen used the experience to get an initial taste of Division I competition. This year, the Buffs are far more comfortable running their various sets at both ends of the floor, and Boyle hopes to use Saturday's exercise to start evaluating different combinations of players in various situations.
"For example, we count fouls, but if a guy gets two fouls in the first half of a closed scrimmage, we're not going to sit him on the bench. We're going to let him play," Boyle said. "You use it for a teaching point. What I really like getting out of it is, as much as the rotations and how well you play, is the players learning what's a foul, what's not a foul. What's an illegal screen, what's a legal screen. So the officiating is really important in these, too."
The Buff will hold their annual black-and-gold scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the CU Events Center ahead of the 1 p.m. football game at Oregon State. The workout will begin at 9:45 a.m., with the doors opening at 9 a.m. Admission is free...All-session passes for the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament in Las Vegas go on sale Monday at 11 a.m. MT at Pac-12.com/tickets.