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Lack of official visits not slowing recruiting momentum for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Tad Boyle likely to take final open 2021 spot into spring

BOULDER, CO - JANUARY 5, 2020:  Colorado's Tad Boyle watches the clock tick away in the loss to  Oregon State  during the game in Boulder on January 5, 2020.
 (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO – JANUARY 5, 2020: Colorado’s Tad Boyle watches the clock tick away in the loss to Oregon State during the game in Boulder on January 5, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

It is the time of year when the Colorado men’s basketball team typically brings recruits on to campus, usually in conjunction with a big football home game at Folsom Field.

That obviously isn’t happening this year, given the Pac-12 still is trying to figure out if it will come out of its coronavirus hibernation in order to play fall football. Yet the absence of official visits has done little to diminish the momentum on the recruiting trail for the Buffaloes.

On Saturday, coach Tad Boyle’s club received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-5 guard Javon Ruffin. Ruffin is the fourth commit for 2021 lined up to join the Buffs, who are set to lose five seniors from the 2020-21 squad.

In recruiting, everything is always fluid. Nevertheless, odds are that Boyle will take that final open scholarship into the spring.

“In a perfect world, I think what we would do is add one more commitment and hopefully sign (four) players come November, and then keep one open for the spring,” Boyle said in a conversation with BuffZone prior to Ruffin announcing his commitment. “Because we do have a really, really good freshman class with Keeshawn Barthelemy and the four true freshmen that we have coming in. After the season, we’re going to have a much, much better feel for where those guys are in their development, and what the needs for next year’s team are going to be. It would give us one scholarship to address those needs based on what we learned this season.

“Now, with that being said, if we get fortunate and we’re in position to get (another) player committed between now and November, we’ll consider that. But I think the ideal thing would be to get (four) commitments and then have one going into the spring.”

Given how prevalent the transfer market has become, along with the de-commits that occur surrounding coaching changes across the country, keeping that final scholarship in his back pocket until the spring would give Boyle flexibility on a number of fronts. Most obviously, it keeps a spot open for the glut of transfers typically available in the late spring. It also provides a cushion if one of this year’s seniors — McKinley Wright IV, D’Shawn Schwartz, Maddox Daniels, Alex Strating, and Jeriah Horne — suffers an unfortunate injury.

Wright is a prime example of the benefits of having roster flexibility in the spring. In 2017 he was committed to Dayton, but after former Flyers coach Archie Miller took the head coach job at Indiana, Wright re-opened his recruiting and has put together a stellar career in Boulder.

As to when the Buffs might hit the floor this fall, Boyle was just like everyone else in the hope that Friday’s Pac-12 CEO Group meeting would address whether the league could resume play on Nov. 25, which was approved as the season start date last week by the Division I Council. Instead, the Pac-12 CEO group will reconvene on Thursday primarily to address the football situation, but a revision to the league’s Jan. 1 start date for basketball might also be addressed.

“We have to wait for direction. All I know is that I’m hopeful that we will reconsider and we’ll be able to play on the 25th (of November),” Boyle said. “We don’t know yet. But my stance right now is that I’m very hopeful.”