It didn’t work out with Chance McMillian. And Dalton Knecht opted to finally leave his home state of Colorado.
With school winding down and the summer fast approaching, that open spot on the Colorado men’s basketball roster remains unfilled. Yet head coach Tad Boyle and his staff certainly aren’t panicking.
McMillian, a shooting guard from Grand Canyon, ultimately chose Texas Tech. Knecht, the former Northern Colorado standout, decided to transfer to Tennessee. A Buffaloes team that struggled from 3-point range last season and has a shortage of experienced, healthy two-guards has addressed neither of those needs so far this spring. Boyle, though, remains steadfast in the belief his roster is in an encouraging enough place that the Buffs don’t need to sign someone simply to fill a spot.
“We’re just kind of waiting for the right fit, the right guy, to help us get over the top, so to speak,” Boyle said. “We’re not going sign somebody just to sign somebody. Just to fill the scholarship. If there’s a guy that fits the way we play and they can help our team next year, help us compete for a Pac-12 championship, we’re going to go try to sign him.
“If we sign one, we sign one. If we don’t, we don’t. The great thing, and I said this after we signed Eddie (Lampkin), we’re not in panic mode. Our roster is in good shape. We can always use more depth, so we’ll just kind of wait and see. We’re constantly looking at the portal and monitoring recruiting on a daily basis. We’re involved with a couple guys, but we’ll see how it pans out.”
With the transfer of Nique Clifford, who landed at Colorado State, and the uncertain status of Javon Ruffin, who recently underwent his third knee surgery in two years, the Buffs are short on depth among bigger guards. Ruffin also was one of CU’s few bright spots from long range this past season. The 2023-24 roster projects to have 6-foot-3 guard RJ Smith, who redshirted as a true freshman this past season, and 6-foot-6 incoming freshman Courtney Anderson.
However, given the improved frontcourt depth expected to be provided by Lampkin, incoming freshman Assane Diop, and Joe Hurlburt (also coming off a freshman redshirt season), Boyle expressed confidence the versatile combination of Tristan da Silva, Luke O’Brien and incoming freshman Cody Williams can take shifts at the two spot if necessary.
Plus, while returning guards KJ Simpson and Julian Hammond III never started together, they often shared time in the backcourt. That perhaps became an even more viable option after Hammond’s strong finish to the 2022-23 season.
“The good thing is we’ve got such versatility with Tristan da Silva, Cody Williams and Luke O’Brien,” Boyle said. “Those three guys can play two through four. Then you’ve got RJ coming off his redshirt. You’ve got Julian Hammond who came on at the end of the year and had a terrific finish to the season. And Courtney is a guy we’ve got a lot of confidence in, but the reality is Courtney is 17-years old. Young for his class. But he’s a very talented kid with good skills. You don’t know about freshmen until they get here and get their feet wet a little bit.”
Buffs add walk-on
CU added to its walk-on contingent with a commitment from Grady Whitt, a 6-foot-1 guard out of Leesdale Road High School in Raliegh, N.C. His older brother, Carter Whitt, was a bench player this past season for the Furman squad that went 28-8 and upset Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Last week, walk-on Amondo Miller announced he is transferring to Division II Fort Lewis College, the reigning champs of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.