On this subject, Tad Boyle doesn’t typically mince words. Given a choice, Colorado’s 10-year men’s basketball coach prefers building his program from the ground up.
That was in display this past season, when a core group playing its third year together posted a 21-win season marred somewhat by a late five-game losing streak and the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament. Yet with a glaring hole separating the Buffs from another possible NCAA tourney run, Boyle stepped out of his comfort zone to dip into the graduate transfer market for the first time.
That opened the door for the addition of Jeriah Horne, a 6-foot-7 forward who played the past two seasons at Tulsa and who signed with CU this past week. Horne primarily will be tasked with easing the Buffs into life after Tyler Bey, who decided to forgo his senior season to enter the NBA draft.
“It was a good fit. We knew we wanted some experience,” Boyle said. “Everyone talks about us losing Tyler. And that’s obviously a big loss. But not a lot of people talk about us losing Lucas Siewert. Lucas was a big part of this year’s team. And his perimeter shooting ability, along with Shane Gatling’s that graduated, is something we felt like we needed to replace.
“So with Jeriah, you factor in the experience, and you factor in his body is ready and he’s proven himself at the high level of Division I basketball, and he can shoot the ball from the perimeter. He’s a very, very good perimeter shooter for a guy his size. And he can rebound the ball well. He brings a lot of things to the table.”
Horne averaged 11.1 points and 5.2 rebounds for Tulsa this past season. He also shot .339 on 3-pointers after posting a .374 mark a year earlier. Horne isn’t likely to be a double-double threat on a nightly basis like Bey, the Pac-12 Conference’s overall leader in rebounds with 9.0 per game. And while Horne probably will be challenged to replace defensive presence of Bey, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, it is a challenge he is embracing.
“Tyler Bey is leaving some big shoes to fill at Colorado. I’m happy for him and him being able to pursue his dreams and advance to the next level,” Horne said. “But we also are going to be missing some key seniors as well. As for me, I love the challenge. For those who know me, they would tell that this is my dream that’s been building my whole life, to play at this level. Some of the biggest games that I’ve played, some of the toughest games, I think I’ve done pretty well. Joining CU means I will need to bring that same energy for this upcoming season.”
Like his new teammates, Horne’s 2019-20 season ended with games still on the table for Tulsa, which won 21 games and earned the third seed in the American Athletic Conference tournament. Yet Horne didn’t play a postseason game before the AAC tourney was canceled alongside every other college hoops conference tournament. Whenever the basketball calendar returns to some semblance of normalcy, Horne will be on equal footing with his new CU teammates in terms of wanting to make the most of the 2020-21 season after being denied a postseason opportunity this spring.
“It was devastating the way that the season ended. We had a chance to really continue to make more history at Tulsa,” Horne said. “I’m blessed to have another year to still achieve some of those goals. CU did a heck of a job last year as well. It’s a privilege to be able to come in and play with such great player, such as D’Shawn (Schwartz) and Evan Battey and McKinley Wright and Maddox (Daniels) as well. I’m really excited for this opportunity next year.”