Freshmen looking to make their mark for CU men’s basketball

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Bryce Peters, left, goes up for a shot against Xavier on Dec. 7 on Coors Events Center.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Deleon Brown averaged 10 points in the final three nonconference games,

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer




The freshman experience in college basketball isn’t typically UCLA’s Lonzo Ball making an early impression on national player of the year voters, or Washington’s Markelle Fultz averaging over 20 points with an eye on an NBA career looming ever closer.

More often the freshman experience is typified by what currently is being endured by Bryce Peters, the Colorado rookie who, in his own words, could “get 30 (points) a game in my sleep,” in high school but now is adjusting to a limited role off the bench for the Buffaloes.

While Dallas Walton and Alex Strating are taking redshirt seasons in the background, CU’s active freshmen — Peters, Deleon Brown, and Lucas Siewert — have enjoyed encouraging moments through the Buffs’ nonconference schedule but have yet to make a major impact.

Despite roles that will remain limited on a veteran team, the rookies are confident their contributions can become more meaningful as CU embarks on its Pac-12 Conference schedule on Jan. 1 at Utah.

“I always say your freshman year is like a rollercoaster, and all three of them are on a rollercoaster,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “They’re not on the same rollercoaster. They’re on different rollercoasters. One of them might be might be at the top, doing really well. The other might be on the bottom on a curve where it’s going 100 miles an hour.

“That’s where Lucas and Bryce are right now. Deleon is at the top, looking out over the city, and it’s pretty good right now. But a week, two weeks from now, it could be totally reversed.”

Brown played sparingly out of the gate but has been able to parlay his penchant for making under-the-radar plays into increased playing time. With Dom Collier still getting back up to speed in his comeback from a stress fracture in his left foot, Brown has emerged as CU’s first guard off the bench. After going scoreless in three of four games, Brown averaged 10 points in the final three nonconference games, and he is shooting a solid .486 from the field.

“I feel like my confidence level is rising,” Brown said. “A big part of it is that I’m getting more comfortable in the offense. I’m playing loose, making shots, and getting to my spots. Coming in, playing defense was my goal, because I knew that’s how I was going to get my minutes.”

Like Brown, Peters was billed as a potential 1,000-point scorer by Boyle when he signed, but the Buffs have yet to see that type of offensive explosion. His collegiate career got off to an ominous start when he was suspended the first two games of the year, and he also was benched for the first half of CU’s game at Portland on Dec. 3 after missing a study hall session.

Peters scored 16 points in his first two games but has managed just 16 points in the nine games since. Siewert also enjoyed an impressive debut, making all three of his 3-point attempts in the opener against Sacramento State. Siewert, though, has made just 7-of-34 shots overall while going 2-for-15 from 3-point range in the 12 games since.

Of late, both Peters and Siewert have seen their minutes dwindle. But as Boyle noted, with freshmen that outlook can change in a hurry.

“When my time comes I got to take the horns and take advantage of the opportunity,” Peters said. “During the games, you just have to know how to face adversity. If you’re not getting a lot of time or you’re not getting the shots that you want, you’ve just got to play around it.”

Pat Rooney: or