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Game day notes: Javon Ruffin coming on strong for Colorado men’s basketball

Voice of the Buffs Mark Johnson logging plenty of travel time

University of Colorado Boulder's Javon Ruffin ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Javon Ruffin looks to pass on Nebraska on Oct. 30, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Chances are Javon Ruffin still will experience some growing pains on the court this season. Still, he hardly looks like a person who has played just five college basketball games.

Ruffin, Colorado’s redshirt freshman guard, is coming on strong and enjoyed the finest game of his young career during Friday’s 103-75 rout of No. 24 Texas A&M. Coming off the bench, the 6-foot-5 guard went 4-for-6 overall, 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and 4-for-4 on free throws before finishing with 14 points.

Ruffin collected six rebounds with only one assist and four turnovers through the season’s first four games. Against the Aggies, Ruffin grabbed five rebounds with three assists and no turnovers in 22 minutes.

Ruffin redshirted last year after arriving at CU on the heels of a dislocated kneecap that required surgery to repair. Just ahead of the 2021-22 season, he endured a second minor, clean-up procedure on the knee. Ruffin was able to briefly return to practice later in the season, but again was sidelined due to a back injury that limited him during the start of CU’s offseason conditioning program.

The son of former Cherry Creek star and NBA veteran Michael Ruffin, Javon Ruffin believes his confidence will continue to grow as he logs more playing time.

“I’m going to get comfortable the more that I play,” Ruffin said. “What makes it easier is my teammates trust me. They keep looking for me. They trust me with the ball in my hands. They just all look for me and they keep me up. I know that there’s going to be up and downs. I might not always be shooting great, but knowing that they trust me, knowing the coaches trust me to give me those opportunities means a lot.”

Traveling man

Buffs fans should give a tip of the cap to the “Voice of the Buffs,” Mark Johnson. While the traveling schedule of the men’s basketball team has been hectic in recent weeks, it has been doubly so for CU’s play-by-play announcer.

It began with CU football’s loss at USC on Nov. 11, a Friday. Johnson returned to Colorado with the team, got a few hours of sleep at home, and flew to Nashville for the basketball win against Tennessee on a Nov. 13 day game. Johnson was able to spend one day at home before traveling for the first two basketball dates at the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Thursday and Friday. With the early tip on Friday, Johnson took a late flight out of Myrtle Beach to Seattle to call the Saturday night football game at No. 15 Washington.

According to a post from Johnson on his Twitter feed, his bag was lost during his travels to Seattle. But thankfully for Buffs fans, his voice wasn’t.

“This one was just so busy because it’s odd and rare for basketball to have so many road games in November,” Johnson said. “I haven’t slept a whole lot.”

Johnson missed the basketball date at Grambling State due to the football game at USC. He will miss another basketball call for Sunday’s Myrtle Beach finale against Boise State (5 p.m. MT, ESPNEWS). Color analyst Scott Wilke will enjoy a reunion of sorts with Johnson’s replacement, Ralph Patterson, who was on the CU basketball staff when Wilke played for the Buffs in the 1980s.


Jalen Gabbidon shot .806 at the free throw last year at Yale (87-for-108) but has struggled to a .591 mark (13-for-22) at the line in his first five games with the Buffs. Gabbidon’s 22 free throw attempts is second on the team behind KJ Simpson’s 25…During its Friday win against Loyola Chicago, Boise State owned a 40-28 rebounding advantage with a 30-20 edge on points in the paint.