The delayed season debut for D'Shawn Schwartz was worth the wait.
Throughout the offseason, both Schwartz and men's basketball coach Tad Boyle kept reiterating the need for Schwartz to bring a better all-around game to the floor in 2018-19. In his first test, it seems Schwartz is putting that work into play, as his career-best effort Friday night was a big reason why the Buffaloes were able to hold off Omaha and improve to 2-0 on the young season.
"That's the D'Shawn that we need to see," Boyle said. "When you have D'Shawn playing at a high level, and Namon (Wright) playing at a high level...we know what Del (Brown) is capable of. You put Shane (Gatling) in the mix and you've got McKinley (Wright) and Tyler (Bey). We've got the ingredients of a good team. We really do.
"But D'Shawn Schwartz, we're going need him to be that guy that he was (Friday). Physically, the toughness-wise. He's going to have to learn how to defend and rebound against bigger guys, but I thought he was great (Friday). He showed great toughness."
Despite his 6-foot-7 frame, Schwartz didn't flex those muscles too frequently last season. He averaged 3.4 points in all 32 games, most of them off the bench, and his solid .383 mark on 3-pointers included a number of key knockdowns in the Buffs' more impressive wins. Schwartz also committed just 10 turnovers in 418 minutes all season.
However, Schwartz also recorded only nine assists while averaging 1.8 rebounds. It was a completely different story against Omaha, as Schwartz combined his career-best 15 points with a career-best seven rebounds. The Colorado Springs native grabbed two of those rebounds at the offensive end. He recorded just five offensive rebounds his entire freshman season.
"I'm just trying to crash, just trying to do anything to help the team win," Schwartz said. "(Friday) helps us to get some adversity, get a nice, close game before we get on the road. We've got to make sure that we realize that everything is not sweet. After the Drake game we probably got a little too high off of that win. We just need to stay level-headed and go into San Diego with a different mindset."
After starting the Buffs' exhibition game against Mines, and afterward being lauded by Boyle as one of the players who had cemented a starting spot going into the season, Schwartz missed the opening win against Drake while serving a one-game suspension for a violation of NCAA rules. Schwartz participated in one summer league game outside the sanctioned window allowed by the NCAA, but fortunately for the Buffs he wasn't missed in a 100-71 rout.
"We had a team meeting, and coach Boyle pretty much just told the guys we had the compliance meeting already, we've just got to make sure we listen to them when they come in and do the compliance," Schwartz said. "Make sure you're not playing in leagues that aren't NCAA certified or during the time period that you can't play. My mistake, completely."