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Summer conditioning program underway for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Three Buffs recruits earn Gatorade Player of Year honors

BOULDER CO - Jan. 16, 2021: ...
BOULDER CO – January 16, 2021: Colorado’s Tristan Da Silva drives on Stanford’s Lukas Kisunas during the CU-Stanford game in Boulder on January 16, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

The 2021-22 college basketball season doesn’t begin for another five months. But this week marked the first gathering of next season’s edition of the Colorado Buffaloes.

Head coach Tad Boyle’s club reconvened in Boulder following the Memorial Day weekend, and with the exception of incoming freshman KJ Simpson, the entire squad is on campus going through the team’s offseason strength and conditioning program.

It marks the first workouts for a recruiting class ranked 11th in the nation by 247Sports.com, a group that includes Simpson, Quincy Allen, Lawson Lovering, Javon Ruffin, and Cherry Creek’s Julian Hammond, who on Friday was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Colorado. Allen was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the District of Columbia, and class of 2022 commit Joe Hurlburt won the honor for North Dakota.

This week also marked the first time on campus for Mason Faulkner, the graduate transfer from Western Carolina.

Simpson’s high school team, Chaminade, still is competing in a delayed 2020-21 season in California and was set to play in the state semifinals on Friday night. Last week, Chaminade knocked off Villa Park, the high school of Simpson’s new CU teammate, Evan Battey.

“As soon as his season is over with, KJ will be with us,” Boyle said. “We’re not going to practice per se until the end of the month. But once he’s with us, we’ll almost have a full contingent for sure. It will be kind of a makeshift summer. I don’t think we’ll have the whole team together until probably late July or August.”

Boyle said 2021-22 sophomore Tristan da Silva is set to return to visit his home in Germany next week, and on June 17 Jabari Walker travels to the tryout camp in Fort Worth, Texas, for the USA Basketball U19 World Cup team.

Even if Walker makes the 12-man US team, his possible international experience should not interfere with his availability for CU’s exhibition tour of Costa Rica in August, though Walker is set to miss the Buffs’ first set of practices ahead of that trip. Teams are allowed 10 practices ahead of international exhibition tours, and Boyle once again said the Buffs are planning to hold five of those practices in late June and the other five just ahead of the departure to Costa Rica. The U19 World Cup will be played in Latvia beginning July 3.

Boyle hinted he also may be nearing an announcement regarding the void in his staff left by the departed Nate Tomlinson. Tomlinson spent three seasons on Boyle’s staff, the last two as CU’s Director of Player Development, before taking an assistant coach job at George Mason under former CU assistant Kim English.

“Still talking to people, but nothing to report,” Boyle said. “I would expect to have something done in the next week. There’s human resource things we have to work with as well. We’ve got to go through the process, so to speak. We’re still in the midst of that and I hope to have somebody by the end of next week.”