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Rotation plans starting to form for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Sophomore guard Thomas Akyazili (right, with ball) should be a key part of a deep bench for the Colorado Buffaloes in 2016-17.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Sophomore guard Thomas Akyazili (right, with ball) should be a key part of a deep bench for the Colorado Buffaloes in 2016-17.

Friday is the two-week mark from opening night for the University of Colorado men’s basketball team. While head coach Tad Boyle said it remains too soon to start settling on lineups and player rotations, those conversations have begun with his coaching staff.

“We started talking about it as a staff,” Boyle said. “Started throwing out ideas. Certainly we’re going to find out more in these two weeks. This team, because of our depth and because of our experience, I don’t think it’s going to be really critical or imperative who starts the game. A lot of it will be dependent on rotations.”

The most obvious candidates for at least four of the starting spots are seniors Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson alongside juniors George King and point guard Dominique Collier. Derrick White or Josh Fortune are the players most likely land the fifth spot.

Given Boyle has stated a desire to utilize a rotation up to 10 players deep, deploying a dynamic player like White off the bench as the leader of a potent backup group is far from out of the question. Also in line for rotation spots are Tory Miller, Thomas Akyazili, and freshmen Bryce Peters and Lucas Siewert.

“The first group of subs coming off the bench, we have that to be a strong group, so we can hopefully get off to a good start and then substitute strength rather than have a drop-off when we sub,” Boyle said. “I think that’s one thing about this team that I’m excited about is that when we sub, we really shouldn’t have a huge drop-off. They all have strengths and weaknesses, but I look at us being 10 or 11 guys deep.”

The Buffs leave Friday morning for the first of two closed scrimmages with a date at SMU on Saturday. Oklahoma State visits CU for another closed scrimmage next week. The Buffs open the regular season Nov. 11 at home against Sacramento State.

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