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CU men’s basketball notes: Superior depth creates competition for minutes

Dallas Walton passes injury anniversary

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    McKinley Wright IV attracts a crowd during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Evan Battey during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick?Staff Photographer

    McKinley Wright IV attracts a crowd during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 16, 2019: Assistant coach, Bill Grier, right, works with Dallas Walton, during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on October 16, 2019. (photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Evan Battey talks to the media during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Jakub Dombek during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick?Staff Photographer

    McKinley Wright IV during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Maddox Daniels during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Tyler Bey during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Shane Gatling talks to the media during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Maddox Daniels talks Mark Johnson during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Dallas Walton talks to the media during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Head MBB coach,Tad Boyle, talks at the press conference during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 16, 2019: Head coach, Tad Boyle, right, talks to the team after the University of Colorado basketball practice on October 16, 2019. (photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Dallas Walton talks to the media during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Head coach, Tad Boyle, talks to Keeshawn Barthelemy during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Keeshawn Barthelemy during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Maddox Daniels during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Alexander Strating, left, and Keeshawn Barthelemy during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    McKinley Wright IV during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Alexander Strating during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Lucas Siewert during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Tyler Bey during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Lucas Siewert, left, Alexander Strating, and Frank Ryder, during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    McKinley Wright IV attracts a crowd during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Daylen Kountz during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Lucas Siewert during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Assistant coach, Bill Grier, during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Eli Parquet during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Jakub Dombek during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    McKinley Wright IV during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Keeshawn Barthelemy looks to pass over D'Shawn Schwartz during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Eli Parquet during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 16, 2019: during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on October 16, 2019. (photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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Tad Boyle has one of those problems many of his coaching colleagues would be glad to have.

As Colorado’s head men’s basketball coach and his players met the media at the program’s annual preseason media day Wednesday at the CU Events Center, one recurring theme regarding a team expecting to compete for a Pac-12 Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament was the Buffaloes’ impressive depth.

It’s not just a talking point.

In the frontcourt, the Buffs boast a first team All-Pac-12 selection and likely NBA draft pick in Tyler Bey, the top returning rebounder in the Pac-12; a 264-pound bruiser in Evan Battey who is a skilled passer out of the post and who has the potential to be a dominant rebounder; Lucas Siewert, who can change games when he gets hot from 3-point range; and 7-footer Dallas Walton, who adds a dynamic defensively missing last year when he was sidelined by a knee injury.

That rotation doesn’t even include junior Alex Strating, who proved capable of making contributions in limited minutes late last year; 6-foot-11 redshirt freshman Jakub Dombek; and Boulder native and walk-on Frank Ryder, a former scholarship player at San Diego that Boyle said he “wouldn’t hesitate” to use in the season-opener in China against Arizona State if needed.

Along the wings, the Buffs feature Colorado natives D’Shawn Schwartz and Daylen Kountz, both of whom have been cited by Boyle on multiple occasions this season as potential breakout stars; 3-point aces Shane Gatling and newcomer Maddox Daniels; defensive specialist Eli Parquet; and, of course, point guard McKinley Wright, a potential Player of the Year candidate in the Pac-12.

Boyle’s challenge early in the season will be to find the proper mix of minutes and rotations. And then making sure each player keeps his focus on the big picture if those minutes and roles fall short of individual expectations.

“There’s not enough minutes to go around for all the players to be happy. And there are going to be some players on certain nights that aren’t going to play, or they’re certainly not going to play as much as they want to play,” Boyle said. “Or maybe that they deserve to play. There’s just not enough minutes to go around for this team. Can I keep everybody happy with minutes? The answer is no. So we have to do it through the buy-in that we’re playing for Colorado, we’re not playing for myself. If our players can buy into that, we’ve got a chance. If they don’t, we’ll have some unhappy guys. Because you know what? We better be winning. Because if you’re winning and you’ve got unhappy guys, you’re winning. But if you’re losing and you’ve got unhappy guys, that’s when you’ve got problems. We don’t want that.”

Dallas Walton talks to the media ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Dallas Walton talks to the media during the University of Colorado basketball media day and practice on Oct. 16, 2019.

Walton anniversary

Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary for the torn right ACL suffered by Walton, robbing him of the entire 2018-19 season.  Boyle has indicated he is comfortable with bringing the Arvada native along slowly through the preseason and even into the early nonconference slate.

“I think the biggest thing with Dallas is he has to be patient with himself, and I have to be patient with Dallas,” Boyle said. “You always want things quicker than maybe they come. And with a 7-footer with ACLs, let’s take our time. I don’t want to slow-play him, but I also don’t want to rush him back. That’s where I’ve got to trust Dallas to understand how hard he can go, how long he can go, and be in touch with that knee. He’s going to play with a brace on. So as long as the brace is on, there’s a mental thinking that goes on that this knee is not 100 percent. It takes time. I’m going to be patient with Dallas.”

Notable

The Buffs, picked second last week in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, will learn Monday if they will have a spot in the AP preseason top 25. CU hasn’t been ranked since mid-January of 2014…Season ticket sales for the CU men’s basketball team are trending slightly ahead of last year’s pace. A year ago the Buffs sold 4,729 season tickets; as of Wednesday morning CU had sold 4,343 for this season. Those figures do not include student sports passes, which are sold out for this year.