Team Colorado coaxes former CU Buffs great Michel Morandais back to the court

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Team Colorado’s Shannon Sharpe, left, Dominique Coleman, and Michel Morandais gather after practice on June 29.

It’s not that Michel Morandais has been overtly glutinous over the past year.

He was, however, the player who probably was most in need of the three-day mini-camp Team Colorado held in Boulder last week.

For the first time since he graduated from the University of Colorado in 2004, Michel Morandais spent the winter at home instead of on a basketball floor in some foreign country. Unlike Team Colorado teammate Richard Roby, whose near-sabbatical for the 2017-18 season was forced by injury, Morandais has quietly slid into retirement at his Miami home.

Morandais was coaxed off the sofa for another run later this month with Team Colorado in The Basketball Tournament, with the potential $2 million payoff too alluring to pass.

“I met a lot of the new guys I didn’t know last year and I really like being around them,” Morandais said. “Then you have guys like (Chris) Copeland and Marcus Hall and James Wright, guys I played with, and I really like them all. When they asked me to come back, I was like, ‘Why not?’

“It’s more muscle memory, so there’s not so much rust. It’s more being in shape, the rhythm of going up-and-down. I don’t play with that kind of repetition every day. It’s funny to be in a new situation (not playing). I’m at home and I’m not in basketball season, in basketball mode. I can actually relax and eat that extra piece of cake or that extra plate. It’s different.”

Morandais remains the No. 12 all-time leading scorer in CU history (1,428 points), and he spent the bulk of his professional career playing in Italy, Spain, and France. He owns a frozen yogurt business in Florida and has been perfectly happy tending to the business while hanging out at home. Morandais turned down several offers to play this past season and, while he has stopped short of declaring himself fully retired, it will take a generous offer to get Morandais to leave home and start saying no to those extra pieces of cake.

“I’ve had options but I haven’t chosen to go,” Morandais said. “It’s not easy to leave my family. That’s the thing now. When I was younger and by myself I could go anywhere. But now it’s not so easy. (Team Colorado) is my season.”

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