Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: Hey, who left this scholarship just laying around?

I'd like to thank everyone who read my piece on Spencer Dinwiddie's departure.  It's the #1 most-viewed non-Top Gear post in the history of this blog (Note to self: more Top Gear posts).  It probably helped that the Mayor himself gave it a shout, to which I am both humbled and grateful.  For those who have just recently discovered this little corner of the interwebs, welcome!  I hope you find something that encourages you to stick around.  For those who are regulars, your patronage, as always, is greatly appreciated.


Today in the bag, I'm talking scholarship math, lacrosse, and the NBA playoffs.

Click below for the bag...

So, what about that open scholarship - 

Last week was deservedly spent honoring the collegiate accomplishments of Spencer Dinwiddie.  Now, however, it's important to turn our collective attention to the stark reality of the future.  With the departure of Spencer, the Buffs have an open scholarship to fill, as Colorado is currently using only 12 of their allotted 13 scholarships (One senior, four juniors, five sophomores, plus the two incoming freshmen).  While Dinwiddie's importance was always outsized, his roster space was ever only 1/13th.  How CU goes about filling that void will go along way to determining the path of the program.
The Mayor leaves a gaping hole in the scholarship list.
Colorado really only has three options:
  1. Use the scholarship on a 2014 recruit.
  2. Use the scholarship on a transfer.
  3. Save the scholarship for a 2015 recruit.
If history is any indication, the scholarship will be spent on a last-second recruit in the 2014 class.  Coach Boyle has shown a tendency to spend his leftover scholarships the way Sean Miller spends his timeouts: wantonly and freely. In both 2012 and 2013 Boyle spent an extra scholarship at the death of the signing window, picking up off-the-radar players Eli Stalzer and George King, respectively.  While the book is not closed on either player, and both bring their own unique talents to the table, neither have been impact performers to date, and the team would generally be in the same position they are today if the program had gone in a different direction. Given a third bite at the apple, I hope CU tries a different route.

The possibility of a transfer, preferably a shooter (*sigh*), has intrigued the fan base for years, but seems to go completely against the way the team is built.  This is not Oregon, after all.  Coach Boyle loves program guys, players who will stick around for a few years, maybe even take a redshirt, and a transfer just doesn't seem to go with that vibe.  There is precedent, however.  Who can forget Carlon Brown's confident hand at the reins of the 2012 march to the Pac-12 title?  The transfer from Utah was much more than a rent-a-player, having been with the program for a redshirt year in 2011, and the impact of his brief period with the program was so important that his face is splashed across the entryway to the practice facility. Maybe the idea of another transfer in the Boyle era isn't so far fetched...
Transfers have excelled in the past.
Saving the scholarship for 2015 does offer some enticing rewards, although it does leave the roster short-handed this season.  With players like Bennie Boatwright, Jeremy Hemsley, Rex Pflueger, Justin Simon, and Cameron Walker available and interested, it seems foolish to head into the cycle with only one available scholarship.  But can the program afford to head into '14-'15 with a shortened bench?

The ideal situation is probably combining doors 2 and 3 by signing a 5th-year senior to keep the scholarship open for the 2015 class. It's the best of both worlds!  However, as I mentioned, that isn't necessarily Coach Boyle's way, and wanting to go in a direction doesn't always mean a suitable player is available.  Regardless, the least appealing idea is another tack-on four-year recruit in 2014.  It probably wouldn't help the roster any next season, and would certainly suppress recruiting efforts going forward.  Two freshmen is enough for 2014.

Lacrosse secures the #3 seed in the conference tournament -

A hearty congratulations go out to the women's lacrosse team, who finished up their first ever regular season with a 10-9 triple overtime win over the Oregon Ducks in Eugene.  It was sophomore Sarah Lautman, once again, who provided the heroics, slotting home the winning goal with just 37 seconds left to play in the third overtime period. It's her third OT winner of the season, making her a clutch star for the first year program.
Lautman and the Buffs finish off 2014 in style. From:
With the win, CU improved to 10-7 (6-3 in MPSF play), which, in my opinion, stands as a very successful foray into the world of D-1 lacrosse.  Head coach Ann Elliott deserves a lot of credit for taking the fledgling program from nothing to something in only a few short years, and for winning big games, many of them on the road, with exactly zero upperclassmen on the roster.

Next up for the ladies: post-season play.  The conference tournament is actually taking place in Denver this week, and the team has earned a 3-seed for their inaugural appearance.  Remember, with lacrosse we're not talking about the Pac-12, we're talking the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.  You'll notice some familiar names like Cal, Stanford, USC and Oregon, but you'll also see some schools BuffNation is less familiar with, like Fresno State, St Mary's, and UC Davis. For those interested, CU will play San Diego State this Thursday at DU's Barton lacrosse Stadium starting at 4pm.  Good luck, and GO BUFFS!

Around the NBA playoffs -

Los Angeles Clippers vs Golden State Warriors -

This series has taken on a whole new meaning since Clips owner Donald Sterling was caught taking offense to his girlfriend being photographed with black men, notably former LA Laker and current LA Dodgers part-owner Magic Johnson. Sterling is not new to the whole 'racist old white man' thing, but the fresh audio took the basketball world by storm over the weekend. Sterling's remarks were so blatantly offensive that the players took to wearing their warmups inside-out during Sundays game in Oakland, rather than promote a club owned by a man who they now question.  Unsurprisingly, considering the distraction, the Clippers got rolled Sunday, losing 118-97 to even up the series.  Shit, I wouldn't blame them if they didn't come out of the tunnel for game five.

Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets -

While LAC/GSW will be getting all the attention for all the wrong reasons, the most entertaining series out west from a purely basketball perspective is Blazers/Rockets.  All four of the games have been high scoring affairs (average combined point total per game is just under 235), and three have gone to overtime.  Sunday was defined, once again, by LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way for the Blazers, dropping 29/10 to help put his team one win away from advancing to the conference semis.  Aldridge has been brilliant this series, averaging 35/12 over the first four games, including his game one 46/18 monster.  With the former Longhorn playing like this, it's hard to see Houston managing to take them down.
Aldridge simply cannot be stopped.

Washington Wizards vs Chicago Bulls -

Oh, Bulls. *smh*  The book on the franchise under Tom Thibodeau seems to be staying true this year. Without star point guard Derrick Rose, the team just doesn't have a high enough gear to turn to in the playoffs.  A younger, more offensively gifted Washington team is pushing them around, and Chicago is all but out after dropping game four 98-89 to fall behind 3-1 in their opening round series with the Wizards. Outside of a ridiculous game three shooting performance from Mike Dunleavy (35 pts, 8-10 from behind the arc), the Bulls have had next to nothing going offensively for them in fourth quarters, which will all but doom the squad to an early exit.  The offense has been so bad that fans back home are starting to scream for Carmelo Anthony, and I'm not exactly unhappy with the thought...

Happy Monday!

No comments: