As I wrote about earlier this week, there has been a leadership void among the Colorado Buffaloes during their winless start in the Pac-12 Conference.
Head coach Tad Boyle himself noted that three of his four fifth-year seniors — Derrick White, Josh Fortune, and Wesley Gordon — hardly are vocal at all, making it impossible for them to be leaders. The other fifth-year senior, Xavier Johnson, certainly isn’t shy about being vocal, but Boyle also said the Buffs are waiting for more consistent efforts from Johnson beyond his solid scoring.
In a sport rich with statistical analysis, it is difficult to gauge which 17 or 18-year olds on the recruiting trail will develop into the sort of player who can get the job done on the court while keeping his teammates both motivated and accountable, like the Buffs had in Josh Scott last year.
Yet help just might be on the way.
This past weekend one of CU’s signees for the freshman class of 2017, Evan Battey, visited Boulder to check out his soon-to-be home. At 6-foot-8 and 280 pounds, Battey is an unmistakable presence who will bring a unique set of skills to CU next fall. Moreover, Battey exudes a magnetic personality that is both engaging and, seemingly, mature beyond his years.
Spend a few minutes with Battey and it’s clear he will never be a player accused of never talking.
“You see the possibilities of it, but you never know how it’s going to develop or if it will come to fruition or not,” Boyle said. “I look at a guy like Evan Battey. What Evan brings is that joy of the game. He is very vocal and he plays with reckless abandon. He’s going to be a treat to coach and to play with, there’s no doubt about it. You see it with a guy like that.
“Now do (other 2017 freshmen) D’Shawn Schwartz and Tyler Bey have that in them? I haven’t seen that from the way they play AAU basketball, but that doesn’t mean they can’t develop into leaders.”