Tad Boyle officially has an open scholarship to play with this spring. And it’s not Tyler Bey’s.
On Friday, Colorado’s head men’s basketball coach confirmed that redshirt freshman Jakub Dombek has entered the NCAA transfer portal, opening a roster spot for the Buffaloes for the 2020-21 season. Boyle said that Dombek, who barely this past season, remains committed to playing college basketball instead of returning to his native Czech Republic to possibly pursue a professional career in Europe.
“I think he wants to transfer and play college basketball,” Boyle said. “We’re going to support him and help him in whatever way we can, and we’ll find him a good spot to do that.”
Dombek arrived at CU two years ago as an international recruit touted by Boyle as a player with pro potential, but who needed to make significant strides physically before that potential could become reality. Dombek never quite made those strides, and whatever pro potential sat untapped within his skills remained at the end of the bench during his time at CU.
Dombek redshirted during the 2018-19 season in hopes of adding further bulk to his lanky 6-foot-11 frame. Yet that proved difficult for Dombek, who topped out at just 190 pounds this past season. He made only four appearances off the bench totaling six minutes, scoring the only points of his CU career on a 3-pointer late in the Buffs’ rout of Iona on Dec. 29.
Earlier this week, Boyle was asked if he remained confident Dombek was a player who could help the Buffs on the floor at some point.
“I’m hopeful that Jakub can,” Boyle said. “Jakub got caught up a little bit in a numbers game in terms of Dallas (Walton) coming back off his redshirt, Tyler being a big-minutes guy, Evan (Battey) as a sophomore, Lucas (Siewert) was a senior. Jakub has got potential. There’s no doubt about that. He had potential when he got here. He’s got potential now. The future will tell whether that potential is realized.”
Dombek’s departure gives Boyle an opportunity to seek a possible replacement for Bey, a projected second-round pick in the NBA draft who will be exploring his professional options and may leave CU a year early. With Dombek departing and Siewert graduating this spring, the Buffs likely will target a frontcourt player with Dombek’s vacated scholarship. Whether it is a player who might be able to help immediately, or one who could make a bigger impact during the 2021-22 season, might depend on Bey’s decision.
Complicating the situation is the NCAA’s current ban on off-campus recruiting trips and on-campus visits due to ongoing concerns of the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We’re going to look at all options,” Boyle said. “But when you look at the makeup of our team, getting some insurance for Tyler Bey makes probably the most sense. That’s one of the options on the table. Obviously things are on a little bit of a standstill recruiting-wise in terms of visits and that sort of thing. We’ll see how the spring plays out. But it gives us a little flexibility.”
Asked whether there might be additional roster defections this spring, Boyle replied, “There might be one more, but I don’t know that. We’ll wait and see.”