Tad Boyle remained confident McKinley Wright IV would be back in Boulder for his senior season. Yet until that belief turns into certainty, there always is that flicker of doubt a young man chasing his dreams might make a different decision.
Fortunately for Boyle and his Colorado men’s basketball team, the uncertainty Boyle dealt with was relatively minor, as Wright announced last week his intent to return to the Buffs for his senior season. With CU’s standout point guard again running the show, Boyle believes his team will feature one of the most unheralded players in all of college basketball.
“As I look around the country, to me he’s one of the most underrated players out there,” Boyle said. “Without a doubt. Now it’s a chance for him as a senior to have a breakout year. I think everybody who follows Colorado basketball and knows our program, knows how good he is. Knows how important he is to us. From the east coast perspective and even the south, I don’t think anybody has any idea how good he is.”
During Wright’s virtual press conference on Wednesday, he noted the feedback he received from NBA personnel regarding the areas in which Wright most needed to improve was his 3-point shooting and assist-to-turnover rate. Boyle agreed with those assessments, saying that while Wright will suffer his share of turnovers as the Buffs’ primary ball-handler, there remains room for improved efficiency.
For example, the man whose all-time assists record Wright is on the verge of breaking, Jay Humphries, ended his four-year CU career with an assist-to-turnover rate of 1.97. Wright will go into his senior year with a mark of 1.68.
“Just from an efficiency standpoint, he still can really improve in that area,” Boyle said. “We know he can score the ball, and we know he can pass the ball. It’s taking care of the ball and making great decisions. He’s certainly made a lot of them for us. But that’s an area, and the shooting, that’s two areas where he’ll always be working on those. As a senior you really want to see those (turnovers) really come down.”
Boyle expressed condolences for the family of Betty Hoover, one of “The Twins” super fans who have been a staple at CU basketball games for decades. Hoover passed away on Wednesday. Her final CU game alongside her twin sister, Peggy Coppom, was the Buffs’ loss against UCLA in the men’s basketball home finale on Feb. 22.
“Both Betty and Peggy have meant so much, certainly to CU athletics over the years…every sport, you name it, they were at football games and volleyball games and men’s and women’s basketball games,” Boyle said. “Betty was a special, special person. She was special to me and my wife and our family. When we moved to Boulder, all three of our kids were at Sacred Heart. Betty and Peggy are big, loyal members of that church. We lost a great Buff fan and a great woman and a great supporter of ours, but also a great friend to many. I think anybody who met Betty — and certainly Peggy too, they were always together — she left a warm spot in my heart and I think everybody’s heart that knew her.
“My heart goes out to her family and certainly to Peggy. I’m not sure I’ve seen a relationship like that in my lifetime that’s 95 years-old. That’s a good run. Sorry to lose her, and we certainly all loved Betty Hoover.”
If the schedule unfolds as planned, the Buffs will face South Florida in the first game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Nov. 23 in Florida. Two days later, CU will play either Wisconsin or Butler. CU has faced South Florida just once, an early-season win in Alaska in 2000…After this week, Boyle said his players will have an opportunity to travel home before returning to Boulder ahead of the first day of classes on Aug. 24…Former CU player Daylen Kountz, who transferred to Northern Colorado, received a waiver from the NCAA and will be eligible immediately for the Bears.