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CU Buffs men’s basketball notes: J’Vonne Hadley returns to rotation

BOULDER,CO:November 27:Colorado Buffaloes' J'Vonne Handley shoots over Yale Bulldogs' Yussif Basa-Ama on November 26, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER,CO:November 27:Colorado Buffaloes’ J’Vonne Handley shoots over Yale Bulldogs’ Yussif Basa-Ama on November 26, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

J’Vonne Hadley readily admitted he still is not quite at 100%. Yet his return to the rotation, even at slightly less than his best, was plenty good enough for the Colorado Buffaloes.

The CU men’s basketball team got back on track with a 65-62 win against Yale on Sunday at the CU Events Center. After missing two games due to a shoulder injury, Hadley got back on track as well, going 5-for-6 with 13 points, five rebounds, one assist and no turnovers in 24 minutes.

“I saw the doctor a couple times, and they said to just take it easy a little bit. Because if it gets bumped at practice or something like that, we don’t want it to be a long-lasting injury,” Hadley said. “Right after Thanksgiving I met with the doctors and they said I’d be good to go as long as I feel comfortable doing that. Once I heard that I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m getting out there with my guys.’

“It’s still limited. I’m not quite a hundred (percent). Right now it’s a little bit sore, but I knew that was going to happen. I’ve just got to ice it, rest it, recover and get back at it tomorrow.”

Hadley started three of the first four games this season, coming of the bench against Tennessee when head coach Tad Boyle juggled the usual lineup. Yet Handley injured his right shoulder in CU’s first game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational, a loss against UMass, after getting tangled with a Minutemen player while battling for a rebound.

Hadley returned to the UMass game after getting injured, but he was too sore to take the court against Texas A&M and Boise State. CU’s leading rebounder, Hadley’s comeback returns a key piece of the puzzle to the floor as they get set to open Pac-12 Conference play at home on Thursday against Arizona State (6:30 p.m., FS1).

“J’Vonne Hadley brings toughness to this team,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “He can finish. He was 5-for-6 from the field, that tells you he can finish. He fights, he battles. He scratches, he claws. I never want to make excuses when guys aren’t in the lineup. But when J’Vonne Hadley’s not in our lineup, our toughness factor goes down significantly. Our energy level goes down significantly. Because that’s what he brings. He’s an important part of this team.”

Coaching kudos

Boyle, an avowed fan of Colorado football, is as eager as any other fan to see how the head coach search plays out. Yet after his team’s win on Sunday, CU’s veteran coach offered praise for the job football interim head coach Mike Sanford did after Karl Dorrell was fired following the Buffs’ 0-5 start.

“From an outsider looking in, the job that Mike Sanford and his staff did when they were dealt a really, really difficult hand. Put in a really difficult position,” Boyle said. “He did such an admirable job. He kept that group together. They weren’t splintering. He stayed positive. I’m not a football coach. I don’t much about football from an Xs and Os standpoint. But I do know leadership. I do know team guys. If I was the next head football coach at Colorado, I’d hire Mike Sanford. That’s just my opinion.”


Sunday’s win was No. 258 for Boyle at CU, leaving him three shy of tying Sox Walseth’s program record. If the Buffs can begin Pac-12 play with wins against Arizona State on Thursday and at Washington on Dec. 4, Boyle will have a chance to tie the record at home against Colorado State on Dec. 8…Lawson Lovering finished with a career-high three blocked shots against Yale…Colorado finished with a season-low eight turnovers…The Buffs were just 4-for-18 on 3-pointers, dropping their season percentage to .316 (49-for-155).