Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Grab Bag: It's semi-officially summer

Mark it down, it's summer.  With Memorial Day come and gone, the seasons have changed.  Kids aren't in school, baseball is in high gear, and I'm starting to get days off of work again; solstice be damned, it's summer now.  I shall celebrate by staying inside and watching Sunday's spectacular Game of Thrones episode again.

Today in the bag, I'm talking Bolder Boulder, peeking at the baseball world, and touching on the NBA playoffs.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quick Post: The Jayhawks have fallen into our trap

My evil plan has come to fruition. Kansas is coming back to the CEC.

The Jayhawks, comforted by years of hoops dominance, have not seen the danger in signing up to play the poor old Buffaloes again.  Oh sure, if the series starts in Lawrence this year, CU may get throttled, youth and inexperience possibly keeping the game from being competitive.  But that first return leg... *evil grin, maniacal laugh*  Lawrence seems to have missed the memo: shit's changed around here.

I had been doing mental gymnastics, trying to envision a scenario where we could trick KU in to coming back up to 5,385 feet of Rocky Mountain High Altitude.  Turns out, they'll stroll in willingly. 

If KU is expecting 6,000 open seats eagerly waiting the return of their fans, they will be left wanting.  That crowd will be Black and Gold, mark my words.  Those Jayhawks will be marching into a frothing CEC, with the long-suffering Buff fanbase out for blood and revenge.  BLOOD AND REVENGE!

This is a perfect situation for CU.  We get the lone Big 8 hoops rival we should care about back on the schedule, and an immediate RPI boost (we care about such things now).  From the KU perspective, they get a series that placates the western portion of their fanbase, and a game against a conference champion. 

They'll also get a big fat road loss hung on their head in two years.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Farewell to Shannon Sharpe

The news broke yesterday in yet another informative Ryan Thorburn Wednesday chat: Shannon Sharpe is leaving the program. According to the Camera, the reserve guard is planning to transfer to a school closer to his family home in SoCal to take care of family business.  Speculation on Allbuffs has said Cal State Fullerton is a possibility, but I will update when there's confirmation of his new home.
Good luck, Shannon, and God bless.
It was only two years ago that I wrote this about Shannon: "I haven't been this excited to see a CU freshman since I heard about Richard Roby tearing up preseason practices in 2004."  He was recruited as a hyper-athletic project guard, with a tantalizing vertical ability.  His practice court exploits were the talk of fall camp when he arrived on campus in '09, and it's no wonder when watching this tape:

But, as is often the case, hyper-athleticism doesn't necessarily translate into in-game ability.  Shannon was never able to develop the kind of jumper required to earn chunks of playing time under either Coach Bzdelik or Boyle, and his on-ball defense, an absolute necessity under Boyle, was often lacking when he jumped into a game.  What's more, a devastating knee injury, just minutes into his first practice in Boulder, set back his development.

While he proved to be an important reserve on the '10-'11 squad, appearing in all 38 games, he saw his minutes cut drastically this season as the incoming freshmen duo of Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie proved ready to play from opening night.  All told, he only saw 103 minutes of action this past season, with none coming in leverage situations.

Still, he was capable of moments of pure athletic joy.  I will never forget his game-capping dunk in the 2011 NIT regional semi-final against Cal.  When you talk hops, this is hops:

By all accounts, Shannon was a fantastic guy, and a solid teammate.  It's a shame he isn't able to complete his career in Boulder, but I wish him the best of luck in the future.  Maybe we'll run into him in post-season play come spring.


The immediate impact on the program is that it opens up a scholarship to offer to the bountiful 2013 recruiting class.  Prior to Shannon's departure, the coaching staff had only been able to offer a speculative spot for new recruits, with limited hope of landing someone in the early signing period.  Now, all avenues are open.  Should Ben Mills also transfer out, that will only further to improve the staffs recruiting position.

With numerous big-name players not only available, but interested in coming to CU, the program should be able to take this departure in stride.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: Is May over yet?

Yeesh, May is boring.  The sports world continues to suffer through the post-collegiate hangover, while baseball and the NBA playoffs have yet to hit their stride.  Memorial Day cannot get here soon enough!

Today in the bag I'm talking pro basketball, baseball, and horse racing.

Click below for today's bag...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quick Post: Wednesdays with Ryan

Actual news regarding the basketball program is hard to come by these days.  It's the doldrums of summer, and what tidbits are out there are often more speculation than raw data.  That said,'s continuing series of basketball-centric chats with Ryan Thorburn every Wednesday at noon (Ringo holds a football-centric version every Monday) offer a bastion of reliable coverage in an otherwise desolate environment.  While I can't participate in that many of them (what with it being lunchtime, and all; fat guy's gotta eat!), they make for required after-the-fact reading.  If you aren't at least catching up in the evening, you just aren't trying.

True to form, Ryan had a few scraps of info for us hoops junkies this afternoon.

Recruiting news:

With the season still a full baseball year away, the biggest question left to be answered, beyond the evolving schedule, is the 2013 recruiting class.  With CU finally on the national radar, the speculation has been that CU would target a blue-chip whale to fill up what will probably be a very small class.  Confirming what has been assumed for months, Ryan had this to say:
"CU is targeting highly ranked shooting guards. Obviously, they can focus on quality instead of quantity in a small 2013 class. My guess is they will land a couple of very good players and will be very choosy about which ones to take."
The problem has always been, with no technical scholarships available in 2013, just how many will Coach Boyle and crew really have to hunt these whales?  Andre Roberson's presumed jump to the ranks of the NBA would free up one scholarship, enough to target a blue-chip prospect like Isaac Hamilton or Jabari Bird and hope for the best. The prospect of additional available scholarships comes down to the futures of Ben Mills and Shannon Sharpe.  The bench warriors seem to have limited on-court prospects, which lead some to speculate they will transfer out of the program.  With finals at Dear Old CU come and gone, now would be the season, and to that Ryan says:
"From what I know Shannon Sharpe is looking for somewhere else to play and the staff doesn't expect him to return to CU. Ben Mills will make a decision sometime next month and could be back."  
 That certainly makes some sense, as the recruiting rumor mill has churned out a few more 2nd and 3rd tier names recently.  I'm not saying talent can't be found off the front page of recruiting lists (Alec Burks and Andre Roberson can attest to that), what I am saying is that the staff's willingness to pursue a wider net in recruiting leads me to believe that they are banking on more than one scholarship.  Further, even if Shannon and/or Ben stay on the CU bench this winter, that doesn't mean they will still be in Boulder at the open of '13-'14.

Incoming class locked and loaded:

Putting all rumors to the contrary aside, Ryan dropped this nugget today.
"Boyle does expect all six freshmen to be enrolled at CU for the June session. That's good news."
There had been some talk that not all members of the '12 class were locks to qualify (Wes Gordon was the name I heard most often).  That is apparently no longer an issue, and the full 6-person class should be able to help the team win in the fall.  Redshirt scenarios are still up in the air, but at least Coach Boyle and Crew will have the full stock room to cook with.

Hawai'i's back on the menu:

Those of you who like traveling with the Buffs will get a kick out of this one:
"Boyle expects Buffs to play In Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu) around Christmas of 2014."
Should that become finalized, it'll make three times in seven seasons that the Buffs will have played their holiday tournament in the 50th state (Rainbow Classic, DHC precursor, in '08, and Maui Invitational in '09). 

I went to this tournament last Christmas, and let me say it's a good spot for the program.  The field is much more inviting, in terms of potential wins, than the Maui Invitational is, and it's on the ESPN family of networks, meaning plenty of viewing options.  The host Stan Sheriff center, and the surrounding University of Hawai'i campus, is a little dopey (though the garlic fries were awesome), but it's only a short bus ride from Waikiki Beach. I'm already starting to save up for the trip. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: On the Verge of Choking

Choking in sports is a brutal thing to watch.  The transformation of champion into chump is a viscerally brutal thing to watch.  Even me, lover of all thing schadenfreude, has trouble watching a team choke away a sure thing, which is why this weekend made for easy viewing.

Today in the bag I will talk about three teams, and their successful attempts to avoid a full-out collapse when it mattered most.  I may only care about one of these teams, and even that stretches the meaning of the word "care," but it doesn't make their triumph over their self-made adversity any less compelling.

Click below for the bag...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Grab Bag: A true grab bag of topics

Yeesh, there's nothing going on right now.  Outside of a smattering of football recruiting updates (which I flat refuse to spend time on), the only revenue sport news that's hitting right now is the continuing transfer saga of Ben Mills and Shannon Sharpe.  Even the Pac-12 Meetings are devoid of any juice.  It's just a down time for CU sports conversation.

And so, I turn my lonely eyes to women's golf.  Yep, women's golf.

Today in the bag, I'll be setting up the golf team's pursuit of a regional title on their home course, shoveling some dirt on the rotting corpse of the Chicago Bulls, and calling Floyd Mayweather a coward.

Click below for the bag...