When the Colorado men’s basketball team returned for a four-game tour of Italy in August, head coach Tad Boyle cited the ability of freshman guard D’Shawn Schwartz to protect the ball as one of the pleasant surprises of the trip.
Schwartz committed only one turnover while playing an average of 15 minutes during those four exhibition games abroad. Impressive as that performance was, it was easy to assume Schwartz’s giveaways would increase once the season began and the competition grew more challenging.
That hasn’t happened, and if anything Schwartz has only become more proficient at protecting the basketball. Through the first six games of his collegiate career, the rookie from Colorado Springs has shot the ball well and has displayed a veteran-like ability to stay within himself and not force plays.
“D’Shawn has been very good,” Boyle said. “He lets the game come to him. He doesn’t force things.”
Through the Buffs’ 6-0 start, Schwartz has consistently delivered solid minutes off the bench. While rarely taking bad shots, Schwartz has gone 10-for-19 from the field so far, with a 3-for-8 mark on 3-pointers. Perhaps even more impressively, Schwartz has committed just one turnover in 80 minutes.
“I’m just making sure I’m making the right play and I’m not trying to do too much,” Schwartz said. “I know coach has told me that I don’t turn the ball over a lot, so he likes to have in situations where he knows I can handle it. Just taking care of the ball is something that naturally works for me. Everything is like a step in a process and I think I’m getting better each game.”
While Boyle again noted the lack of careless mistakes from Schwartz remains one of his strengths, CU’s leader also pointed out that if a few more turnovers out of Schwartz were the result of more aggressive drives to the hoop, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. The 6-foot-7 Schwartz has attempted only four free throws, and Boyle believes there is another facet to the freshman’s offensive game that has not yet been put on full display.
“I want him to be a little more aggressive,” Boyle said. “Sometimes one turnover can look like a really good stat, and it is a good stat, but the other side of that is how much pressure is he putting on the defense? I want him to be more aggressive offensively because he’s a very good driver. He’s got a big, strong body and he can really shoot the ball. I want him to be more aggressive offensively and still maintain that assist-to-turnover ratio he has. But D’Shawn has given us great minutes.”