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CU basketball gets verbal commit from Columbine’s Luke O’Brien

National signing day on Wednesday will be an unusually quiet one for the Colorado men’s basketball program, as Tad Boyle plans to keep the open scholarship in his back pocket until the spring.

However, the first piece of the 2020 recruiting class has apparently fallen into place.

On Saturday morning, Columbine High School junior Luke O’Brien pledged a verbal commitment to join Boyle’s program for the 2020-21 season. O’Brien is a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who, according to Columbine’s page, averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists for the Rebels last season.

O’Brien shot 44 percent overall and .367 percent (51-for-139) from 3-point range last year as a sophomore. O’Brien took an official visit to CU two weeks ago.

Currently, the Buffs project to have three scholarships available for the 2020 class, covering the three juniors on this season’s team — Deleon Brown, Lucas Siewert and junior college transfer Shane Gatling, who expects to make his CU debut Tuesday in the season opener at home against Drake.

O’Brien’s commitment also continues Boyle’s habit of trying to land the top talent out of Colorado. The list of homegrown Buffs recruited during Boyle’s tenure includes Josh Scott, Wesley Gordon, Xavier Talton, Derrick White and Dom Collier, in addition to current CU players D’Shawn Schwartz and Daylen Kountz.

With only one senior on this season’s team, Namon Wright, Boyle will look to use that open 2019 scholarship in the spring recruiting market, allowing more flexibility with the possibility of adding a transfer, an international player, or a prep player if their previous commitment falls through, which is the sort of route that brought starting point guard McKinley Wright to Boulder.

Pat Rooney: or

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