While the Colorado men’s basketball team continues to bask in the glow of Derrick White’s selection in the first round of the NBA draft, it nonetheless is time to get back to work for the Buffaloes.
With a four-game trip through Italy set for August, NCAA rules allow the Buffs to hold 10 practices before packing their gym shoes and readying their passports. Coach Tad Boyle’s club will work out on Sunday evening and again on Monday before holding the final eight of those practices before the Buffs’ departure date of Aug. 14.
Part of the consideration behind breaking up the 10 practices was strictly logistical. Between the current installation of a new central video board above the main floor at the Coors Events Center, summer camps hosted at CU, and the crunch of August events leading up to the beginning of the school year, securing court time isn’t a simple formality for the Buffs right now. Beyond that, with freshman Evan Battey having arrived on campus earlier this week, Boyle wanted to oversee at least one workout with his new players before leaving for Egypt on Monday as part of the U.S. U19 World Cup coaching staff.
Boyle will lead Sunday’s workout but is leaving Monday’s practice in the hands of his staff.
“It’s hard to do 10 (practices) in a row,” Boyle said. “In a perfect world, if I didn’t have this (national team) commitment we probably would’ve done three or four. But quite frankly the other thing we run into in summer is gym space. We’ll get a little taste of what we need to do.”
With Battey finally in the mix — his high school didn’t hold it’s commencement ceremony until mid-June — the Buffs now have four of their five 2017 freshmen on campus. Tyler Bey, McKinley Wright, and Colorado Springs native D’Shawn Schwartz arrived in early June.
In addition to the team’s large freshman class, the Buffs’ workouts this summer also will feature three players who will be eligible at CU for the first time — Dallas Walton and Alex Strating, who took redshirt seasons as true freshmen last year, and Missouri transfer Namon Wright, who was sidelined for much of 2016-17 after enduring foot surgery.
Although coaches always look at each and every practice as an opportunity to improve, the glut of new faces adds more of an air of urgency to the Buffs’ summer workload.
“The summer workouts are helpful, but what’s really going to be helpful to us is these 10 practices,” Boyle said. “We’ll get a feel for our freshmen and our other new guys, like Dallas and Alex. And Namon being back off his foot injury. We’ve got eight new guys we’ve got to incorporate into what we do.”
The final 2017 freshman, Serbian guard Lazar Nikolic, is scheduled to arrive in Boulder in August and join the Buffs for the remainder of their pre-Italy practices.