Only one practice is in the books. But it already appears the new-look Colorado men’s basketball team has the sort of manpower issues most coaches generally won’t complain about.
On the surface, the Buffaloes appear to boast 12 players who could make up the playing rotation — seniors George King, Dom Collier, and Tory Miller-Stewart; junior Namon Wright; sophomores Deleon Brown and Lucas Siewert; and freshmen Dallas Walton, Tyler Bey, McKinley Wright, D’Shawn Schwartz, Evan Battey, and Lazar Nikolic.
It is unlikely head coach Tad Boyle will use a 12-man rotation. Barring injury, none of the three seniors or Namon Wright will redshirt. Among the freshmen, Walton used his redshirt last year, while early indications are Bey, Schwartz, and McKinley Wright will be the most likely to log regular minutes immediately. However, any decision on whether other players might save a season of eligibility while on the sideline remains a problem for the future.
“Who starts and who plays what position, that will all be determined as we go through the month of October. I’m not too concerned with that,” Boyle said. “(Redshirting) is always a possibility. We won’t have a feel for that until we get a lot closer to November 10th. We think about it as a staff. We talk about it as a staff. But right now it’s just premature.
“I’m not the kind of coach who wants to put kids in boxes. Just because I think this player might start at this position, another player might emerge over the next three or four weeks at practice that proves me wrong. I leave myself open to that happening. I want all our players to all feel they have an opportunity with how they practice and how they compete over the next 25 practices. At that point we’ll sit down and say, ‘Okay, what’s best for the long-range plans for this player?'”
The Buffs’ four-game swing through Italy in August provided an opportunity for the new players to mesh a little bit in a competitive environment. However two of those newcomers, Battey (injury) and Nikolic (eligibility), were unable to take the floor in Italy. They begin preseason workouts in catch-up mode. That process is magnified for Nikolic, a native of Serbia whose NCAA clearinghouse issues forced him to miss the first week of school.
“At least Evan was there for practices and could absorb some of what we were putting in,” Boyle said. “Lazar didn’t get any of that. He’s just trying to understand a lot of different things when it comes to his life. Academically, getting adjusted to a new country, new teammates, coaches that are expecting certain things. It’s going to be a learning curve for him.”
The Buffs will continue workouts on Monday and Tuesday but are expected to be off Wednesday…The Pac-12 Conference media days will be held next week in San Francisco, with the women’s media day on Oct. 11 and the men to follow on Oct. 12. King and Miller-Stewart are expected to represent the Buffs.