Consistency elusive for CU basketball’s D’Shawn Schwartz before strong finish

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz finished with more assists (46) than turnovers (42).

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's D'Shawn Schwartz ranked fourth on the team at 9.2 points per game

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The Schwartz file

The lowdown: 6-7 sophomore guard, Colorado Springs.

Key stats: 9.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .436 field goal percentage.

Strengths: Size, versatile scoring.

Weaknesses: Rebounding, consistency.

(This is the fourth in a series of nine BuffZone.com profiles reviewing the rotation players for the 2018-19 Colorado men’s basketball team.)

It was an inauspicious start to the 2018-19 season in more ways than one for D’Shawn Schwartz.

One surprise from opening night against Drake was the sight of Schwartz in street clothes, serving a one-game suspension for a violation of a minor NCAA rule regarding participation in summer league games. It was a brief blip but it seemingly set a tone as Schwartz, the 6-foot-7 sophomore guard from Colorado Springs, struggled with a 3-point shot that was a clear strength during his freshman season.

It was a gradual turnaround for Schwartz, and one not without a few frustrations along the way. Yet he started each and every game after the opener, and by the season’s end Schwartz was showing more frequent flashes of the all-around game that made him the 69th-ranked prospect in the nation in the ESPN100 for the 2017 recruiting class.

Schwartz’s early shooting woes didn’t manifest immediately. In his first game of the year he went 6-for-10 overall with a 2-for-4 mark on 3-pointers while scoring what then was a career-high 15 points in a home win against Omaha. But Schwartz went scoreless in the Buffs’ next outing, a loss in a winnable matchup at San Diego, setting a pattern that lasted into January that saw Schwartz often alternate strong scoring performances with games of minimal impact.

By the time the Buffs hosted Pac-12-leading Washington on Jan. 12, the player who posted a .383 3-point percentage as a freshman had his mark dip to .263 (10-for-30) from the arc. Despite the loss against the Huskies, Schwartz got on track, going 4-for-5 from long range before finishing with a career-best 22 points.

From there, Schwartz shot the ball with more authority, posting a .333 3-point mark over the final 21 games. Along the way, Schwartz found other ways to score more consistently. Schwartz ranked fourth on the team at 9.2 points per game, averaging 12.0 points over the season’s final 10 games. Schwartz also made plays more frequently as well. Through the first 28 games Schwartz recorded multiple assists just six times. He reached that mark in six of the final eight games.

Rebounding and defense always will be head coach Tad Boyle’s biggest challenges for Schwartz, and that likely isn’t going to change this offseason. Schwartz made big strides as a defender this season but mild ones as a rebounder. Schwartz established a career-high of eight rebounds at Arizona on Jan. 3 and matched that in the Pac-12 tournament-opening win against Cal, and he finished the season averaging 3.7 per game. Yet like other aspects of Schwartz’s season, his glass work ran hot and cold — he grabbed just five rebounds in the final two NIT games, and Schwartz’s size makes him capable of contributing much more.

Schwartz finished with more assists (46) than turnovers (42), and his .778 mark at the free throw line was a key part of a .753 team mark that ranked third in team history.

“I don’t think we’re really worried about expectations. We’re just going to put our head down and get to work,” Schwartz said. “We know what we need to do. We know the mistakes that we made and how we can get better, so that’s all we’re going to focus on.”

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07