Thomas Akyazili, Bryce Peters transferring out of CU basketball program

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Oft-suspended guard Bryce Peters is transferring from Colorado after averaging 4.7 points as a freshman.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Guard Thomas Akyazili is returning to his native Belgium after playing in 63 games over two seasons with the Buffaloes.



Even beyond the graduation of leading scorer Derrick White, the backcourt of the Colorado men’s basketball team will feature a different look next season.

On Wednesday, CU announced that guards Thomas Akyazili and Bryce Peters have decided to transfer out of coach Tad Boyle’s program.

Akyazili, a sophomore from Belgium, appeared in 63 games over two seasons with the Buffs, averaging 2.8 points in an average of 13.3 minutes. Akyazili saw Peters and another freshman, Deleon Brown, surpass him on the depth chart this past season, as his playing time decreased dramatically from his freshman season. While a sturdy ball-handler, Akyazili struggled to shoot consistently at CU, going 1-for-21 on 3-pointers this past season.

Other than a token appearance in the waning seconds of CU’s loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 Conference tournament, Akyazili did not play in the Buffs’ final three games. He is expected to return to Belgium to pursue a pro career.

Peters proved to be an enigma during his only season with the Buffs, balancing an enticing potential on the floor with an inability to make mature decisions away the floor.

Peters began his career by being suspended for the first two games of the season, finally making his CU debut by scoring nine points against Louisiana-Monroe.

On the heels of that opening suspension in November, Peters said: “In high school I didn’t really have to do as much as I do now, because as a star athlete in high school people kind of bow down to you. But everybody was somebody in high school when you go to college. It’s just a learning experience. My off the court decisions have to get better. I understand that and I’ve learned from that.”

Whatever Peters professed to have learned, however, seemingly didn’t sink in. After that opening suspension he was benched for the first half of CU’s game at Portland on Dec. 3 after missing a study hall session. He then was slapped with an indefinite suspension prior to the Buffs’ game at Oregon on Feb. 18 due to a violation of team rules.

That suspension lasted six games through the Pac-12 tournament. Peters was reinstated for CU’s loss at Central Florida in the first round of the NIT but did not play. He displayed improvement on the floor as the season progressed, posting all five of his double-digit scoring games over the final 11 Pac-12 games in which he was eligible. Overall, Peters’ forced absence for 8.5 games was exactly 25 percent of the Buffs’ entire schedule.

Given his southern California roots and his family pedigree — Peters’ uncle, Tracy Murray, was a star at UCLA before a 12-year NBA career — Peters expressed a great personal zeal for playing in the Pac-12. However, that dream likely is over as he begins to pursue other options.

Peters finished the season averaging 4.7 points in 24 games. He shot .392 from the floor and .333 from 3-point range.

While Boyle was unavailable for comment Wednesday, the two defections opens scholarships to use this spring in a transfer landscape that is becoming more prominent, and essential, in college basketball every season. CU already is set to welcome the highest-rated freshman class of Boyle’s tenure into the program next fall with the addition of Evan Battey, Tyler Bey, and Colorado Springs native D’Shawn Schwartz.

Pat Rooney: or