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Deleon Brown providing big spark off the bench for CU basketball

Colorado's Deleon Brown, left, scored 13 points off the bench in the Buffs' victory against Mercer.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Deleon Brown, left, scored 13 points off the bench in the Buffs’ victory against Mercer.

Though he is just five games into his sophomore season, Deleon Brown understands that some nights just aren’t going to be his night.

Brown suffered one of those tough outings last week in the opener of the Paradise Jam in Virginia. Yet the sophomore guard from the Colorado men’s basketball team responded in a manner that exemplifies the type of confidence and maturity Brown has brought into his second year with the Buffaloes. Brown went scoreless against Quinnipiac last week but bounced back with two strong games to help the Buffs claim the Paradise Jam championship, continuing an impressive start to his sophomore campaign.

“I feel like especially with the games early-on in the season, I got a little bit into a rhythm offensively,” Brown said. “I feel like I’ve been riding that. I’m pretty confident right now in my game, my shot, and my ability to make plays.”

Brown’s strong start was momentarily derailed against Quinnipiac, as he went 0-for-4 while going scoreless with four fouls in just nine minutes. However, Brown went 6-for-10 over the next two games and scored 13 points off the bench in the Buffs’ title-clinching victory against Mercer.

While it only is a five-game sample so far, Brown is on pace to make a far more significant contribution during the 2017-18 season than he did as a freshman. After averaging 3.2 points in 31 games last year, Brown is averaging eight points a contest even with that one scoreless outing working against his ledger. He is shooting an even 50 percent from the field after shooting .361 last year, and even his modest rebounding average has doubled from 0.7 to 1.4.

Though Brown has recorded just three assists so far, he also has committed only two turnovers in 101 minutes.

“That first night in Virginia I got into foul trouble, and coach just said to me, ‘Tonight just wasn’t your night,'” Brown said. “I just had to bounce back the next couple of days.”

On the surface it would appear Brown’s hot start might have him in line to potentially take over the starting spot of senior guard Dom Collier, but so far coach Tad Boyle has been pleased with the scoring spark Brown has provided off the bench. That scoring edge off the bench could be even more important Sunday at home with sophomore Lucas Siewert likely to miss the Air Force game due to an ankle injury and the remainder of the bench rotation being comprised of three true freshmen and a redshirt freshman.

Collier has struggled from the field — he is shooting just 6-for-24 overall with a 2-for-14 mark on 3-pointers — yet despite his reserve role Brown already is averaging more minutes than Collier (20.2 to 17.4).

“I love bringing energy off the bench, I love bringing defensive and offensive presence off the bench,” Boyle said. “Starting and not starting doesn’t really mean a lot to me. It may or may not happen right now. If I put a term on (Brown) it would be resiliency. Del has shown great resiliency, certainly in that situation (last week). This whole team responds well. Del is being aggressive. He’s attacking the basket offensively and he gives us great energy on defense. I’m really pleased with what he’s bringing to the team.”

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