At the outset of the season, Colorado basketball coach Tad Boyle described the rotation at the two-guard spot as a fluid situation.
And although senior Shane Gatling has established himself as the starter, the two-guard rotation remains somewhat fluid. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the 24th-ranked Buffaloes.
While sophomore guards Eli Parquet and Daylen Kountz have enjoyed opportunities to take over the starting spot this season, both instead have been relegated to bench roles that have fluctuated throughout the season. With Kountz currently struggling and Parquet coming off one of his best games as a Buff — and with junior guard Maddox Daniels still working his way through the concussion protocol — those roles in the guard rotation could fluctuate once again when the Buffs host Cal on Thursday night (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
Parquet had played sparingly in Pac-12 Conference play until his big effort during Saturday’s win at USC. Afterward Boyle repeated a recent assertion that Parquet has been practicing well in recent weeks, and on Tuesday Boyle was asked if Parquet had earned more playing time.
“I think he deserves it, and I want our players to understand that practice does matter,” Boyle said. “You practice well, the coaches are going to notice. You don’t practice well, they’re going to notice that, too. In games, you have to make the most of your time. Guys like Eli and Daylen, it’s hard sometimes when you’re not getting regular minutes or extended minutes. It’s difficult. I understand that as a coach. (Parquet) did a great job against USC and he’s deserving of a little bit more.”
Parquet didn’t play at all in the season’s first two conference games and had played just 25 minutes total in the next six games before surpassing that total in the USC game alone, playing a career-high 26 minutes, 40 seconds. Parquet played relentless defense against Trojans point guard Ethan Anderson, turning a steal into a fast-break layup and matching a career-high with five rebounds.
Kountz, meanwhile, continued to struggle, logging a season-low four minutes.
“Daylen needs to learn to compete every possession, both offensively and defensively, and do what he can do,” Boyle said. “Try not to do what he can’t do. Daylen is going to be fine. We know Daylen is a capable player. I’ve got confidence in Daylen. Just like I have confidence in Eli. But what I think Daylen has got to do to get himself going is just think about competing. Don’t worry about scoring. Don’t worry about shooting.
“I remember last year late in the year he was getting in passing lanes and getting some steals for some transition buckets. Those are the kinds of stuff he needs to do to get himself going.”
Kountz enters the Cal game having shot just 2-for-13 over the past five games after going 9-for-20 in the first four Pac-12 contests. The sophomore from Denver East also grabbed seven rebounds in the first four league games but has recorded just five in the five games since.
“I wouldn’t say I’m fighting confidence. It’s just going out making the right plays, just trying to do stuff to be productive,” Kountz said. “Not just being on the floor, but trying to impact the game in more than one way. Just keep being aggressive. I’m not going to shy away after I miss. I just have to let it go and keep being aggressive and try to make plays.”