Game day notes: Jabari Walker, Jeriah Horne provide punch off bench in frontcourt rotation

D’Shawn Schwartz status still uncertain heading into date at KSU

Freshman forward Jabari Walker (left) enjoyed an impressive CU Buffs debut against South Dakota (photo courtesy Kansas State athletics).
Freshman forward Jabari Walker (left) enjoyed an impressive CU Buffs debut against South Dakota (photo courtesy Kansas State athletics).
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Only one game has been played, and far more challenging opponents await the Colorado Buffaloes. Yet after the first sample it seems the Buffs’ frontcourt rotation off the bench might be in good hands with the old man and the teenager.

The old man, relatively speaking, is 22-year old Tulsa graduate transfer Jeriah Horne, who showed his long-range shooting touch might serve as a smooth replacement for Lucas Siewert. The sinewy, 18-year old Walker was the first true freshman off the bench during Wednesday’s opening win against South Dakota, flashing a raw athleticism reminiscent of a young Tyler Bey.

“(Walker) is a beast on the boards,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “He’s got great instincts, shot blocking. He plays with a motor. Both Tristan (da Silva) and Jabari, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when they’re going to be really good players for us.

“Jabari eventually will become that (inside-outside) guy. We’re just trying to make it a little simpler for him now early and him play just the inside spot, if you will. But he’ll eventually be an inside-outside guy because he can shoot the three.”

Indeed, the first shot attempt of Walker’s career on Wednesday was a 3-pointer he drained. Though he finished just 2-for-8 from the floor, Walker went 5-for-5 at the free throw line and finished with 10 points, six rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot in 15-plus minutes.

Horne, playing for his third team in five years — he spent one season at Nebraska before transferring to Tulsa — shook off an 0-for-6 first half against South Dakota to knock down three consecutive 3-pointers after halftime. In his Buffs debut in his home state, the 6-foot-7 Horne finished with 11 points and four rebounds in about 24 minutes.

Game time decision

As of late morning on Friday, there was no update to the status of senior wing D’Shawn Schwartz.

Schwartz was sent home on Wednesday for what Boyle termed as “a possible exposure” to the coronavirus. Sources have told BuffZone that Schwartz received a positive test on Wednesday and was sent back to Boulder, per Pac-12 Conference protocols. Schwartz likely underwent PCR testing on Thursday, which is more sensitive than the daily antigen tests the players receive. Those sources also said the hope is Schwartz registered a false positive, which would allow him to return to Kansas in time for Friday night’s game against Kansas State (6:30 p.m., ESPNU).

It was the second time in three seasons Schwartz was unexpectedly absent from the Buffs’ season opener. In 2018, Schwartz had to serve a one-game NCAA suspension for the opener against Drake for playing a summer league game outside of the NCAA’s allowable dates.

Schwartz averaged 9.8 points last season and enters the season needing just 19 3-pointers to break into CU’s all-time top 10 list for made 3-pointers.

Notable

Former CU guard and Denver East product Daylen Kountz will have to wait for his debut with Northern Colorado, as the program is on hold due to coronavirus issues…Like Schwartz, point guard McKinley Wright IV also is closing in on CU’s all-time top 10 for made 3-pointers. Wright went 1-for-2 from long range against South Dakota, giving him 106 made 3-pointers in his career. Levi Knutson and Donnie Boyce are tied for ninth on that all-time list with 129. Wright also posted the 18th 20-point game of his career against South Dakota…Friday night’s contest will be CU’s 145th matchup against Kansas State. The Buffs have played only four schools more frequently and all of them, like KSU, are former rivals from the Big 12 Conference — Kansas (164 games), Missouri (151), Nebraska (148), and Iowa State (148).