Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
The Siewert file
The lowdown: 6-foot-10 junior forward, Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Key stats: 8.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .352 3-point percentage.
Strengths: 3-point shooting, passing skills.
Weaknesses: Inconsistent shot, defense.
(This is the ninth in a series of nine BuffZone.com profiles reviewing the rotation players for the 2018-19 Colorado men’s basketball team.)
For a while, it looked as if Lucas Siewert finally was putting it all together.
That 3-point shot, always a staple of the junior forward’s game, was connecting at an incredible clip. His rebounding had improved, as had his passing skills — particularly from the high post when opposing defenses settled into zones.
At the conclusion of nonconference play, Siewert arguably was the Colorado Buffaloes’ most efficient player. Yet his decline was so precipitous down the stretch it is easy to wonder if a player who was one of the Buffs’ early stars will revert to being a 3-point role player off the bench for his senior season in 2019-20.
In the beginning, Siewert was on fire. Through the Buffs’ 12 nonconference games, Siewert posted a robust .488 3-point percentage (20-for-41) while reaching double-figure points eight times. That run included a career-best 19 points as the Buffs’ lone bright spot in a loss at Hawaii on Dec. 23, as well as an early run of three straight games — Air Force, Portland, and Colorado State — that saw Siewert shoot 18-for-26 overall with a 7-for-11 mark on 3-pointers. That run also included the first, and so far only, double-doubles of his career against Portland (18 points, 10 rebounds) and CSU (16 points, 10 rebounds).
However, once Pac-12 Conference play began, Siewert’s production endured a steady decline. A player who never has been particularly comfortable using his 6-foot-10 frame to jostle with other big men inside, Siewert’s efficiency began to drop against the league’s bigger, more physical teams. Siewert went 3-for-5 on 3-pointers in CU’s league opener at Arizona but went 2-for-10 over the next three games and never truly regained his early-season form.
Throughout those shooting ups-and-downs Siewert maintained a relatively steady pace on the glass — he averaged 5.2 rebounds in nonconference play and 4.9 rebounds the rest of the way, finishing the season with a career-best average of 5.0 rebounds per game — yet it was a rough patch on the glass that ultimately swayed head coach Tad Boyle’s decision to move Siewert out of the starting lineup.
After posting a solid 15 points with nine rebounds in a home win against Arizona on Feb. 17, Siewert followed with a 1-for-10 showing from the floor without grabbing a single rebound in 24 minutes in a loss at Washington State. Siewert later admitted to letting his shooting woes affect other aspects of his game, and that night at WSU proved to be Siewert’s final game in the starting lineup, as redshirt freshman Evan Battey assumed the starting role the rest of the way.
Following that hot start in nonconference play, Siewert shot just .286 (24-for-84) on 3-pointers over the final 24 games. That 15-point outing against Arizona was the last time Siewert scored more than seven points in any game, and he went just 3-for-15 overall (1-for-7 on 3s) in the Buffs’ three games at the Pac-12 tournament.
With 7-footer Dallas Walton expected to make a full recovery from the torn ACL that kept him on the sideline this season and Battey continuing to improve, it is difficult to envision Siewert regaining his starting role for his senior season. Still, if the Buffs expect to fulfill their goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2020, Siewert regaining his shooting touch while maintaining that five rebounds per game pace off the bench will be critical.