Game day notes: Javon Ruffin status still uncertain for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Jabari Walker takes double-double streak into battle at No. 5 UCLA

Colorado sophomore forward Jabari Walker has posted three consecutive double-doubles heading into the Buffs' showdown at No. 5 UCLA. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Colorado sophomore forward Jabari Walker has posted three consecutive double-doubles heading into the Buffs’ showdown at No. 5 UCLA. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

LOS ANGELES — Amid these huge top-15 showdowns this week for the Colorado men’s basketball team, head coach Tad Boyle plans to have a deep conversation with freshman combo guard Javon Ruffin.

As the Buffaloes brace themselves for a huge battle on Wednesday night at No. 5 UCLA (7:30 MT, Pac-12 Networks), the status of a player expected to be a huge part of CU’s top-15 recruiting class remains in limbo.

Ruffin has been sidelined with a knee injury essentially since he arrived at CU this past summer, and the clock is ticking as to whether he might still be able to help the Buffs this season or take a redshirt to preserve the season of eligibility.

“Probably this week we’ll talk about where he’s at mentally, physically,” Boyle said. “He’s not ready to go yet. Right now we’ve been healthy, knock on wood. These aren’t easy decisions. But it’s got to be a joint decision. It’s not a top-down decision by any means.”

Part of Boyle’s hesitation to just keep Ruffin sidelined is the fact the Buffs are carrying just 12 scholarship players this season following the summer defection of transfer Mason Faulkner to Louisville. And freshman Quincy Allen already is taking a redshirt season due to a hip injury, leaving the CU bench with 11 scholarship players.

Until Ruffin is healthy, the debate regarding his fate this season is moot. So while Boyle and Ruffin still are sorting the options, the plan could be just to get Ruffin back into form, and then reassess whether he could still help the team enough in whatever amount of the season remains to make burning the season worthwhile.

Double double run

Sophomore forward Jabari Walker already has posted four double-doubles in seven games for the Buffs, including three in a row heading into Wednesday’s showdown at No. 5 UCLA.

It might have been an uninspired performance overall for the Buffs when they lost an exhibition game at Nebraska by 15 points on Oct. 31, but Walker was shrewd enough to understand he didn’t want to repeat his personal effort that day once the regular season began.

“I think at Nebraska, in the preseason games, I wasn’t as active as I was last year,” Walker said. “I had to change that immediately. Crash the boards, get the defensive rebounds, and do whatever I can to help us out.”

Walker recorded 12 points and a career-high-tying 13 rebounds during Sunday’s win against Stanford. He posted 10 points with 12 rebounds against Brown and tallied 13 points with 13 rebounds against Duquesne.

Notable

Point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy will attempt to shake off a slight shooting slump at UCLA. After going 11-for-16 on 3-pointers through the season’s first five games, Barthelemy is 0-for-6 on 3s in the past two games…Senior guard Elijah Parquet enjoyed a strong game at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion last season, going 4-for-5 with 10 points and three rebounds in 31 minutes…CU senior Evan Battey, coming off a career-high 22 points against Stanford while surpassing the 1,000-point mark for his career, ranks 30th all-time with 545 rebounds. With five more he will pass both Cory Higgins (547) and Rodell Guest (549).