Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: CU football lands major recruit

In what has become an semiannual right of passage for the Board of Regents, basketball coaches Tad Boyle (praise be his name) and Linda Lappe received a contract extension.  Through a vote on Friday, the respective contracts were extended to the end of the '18-'19 season, without an increase in salary.

I don't mean to undersell this move, since it is important for the coaches to continue to enjoy a sense of job security, but I'm not kidding when I say that this has become a common occurrence.  The contracts for Boyle and Lappe have been repeatedly extended tweaked over the previous two years, including the following instances:

February 2012
November 2012
April 2013
June 2013
July 2013

I've become accustomed to the idea that, in sports, contracts are barely worth the paper they're printed on. Coaches can be fired or quit at the drop of a hat, so all of this is mostly for posturing.  Anyone who is familiar with the programs in Boulder knows that Boyle and Lappe are here until they no longer want to be. Still, simply the idea that both the coaching eras we're currently enjoying would continue through 2019 is a welcome one.  I'll take it.


Today in the bag, I'm talking about the US sneaking through to the knockout rounds, the first games of the World Cup's sweet sixteen, and a big-time recruit in football

Click below for the bag...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Quick Post: Detroit has a new Mayor

This draft has first round talent in the second round. - Jay Bilas

BuffNation's wait last night was a little longer than it should've been.  Still, better late than never, the Detroit Pistons spent the 38th overall pick, 8th of the second round, on CU's very own Spencer Dinwiddie. K-BOOSH!
From: @CUBuffs
If you spent any amount of time over the last few years watching Colorado Basketball, you know that Spencer Dinwiddie is a first-round caliber talent. That much is undeniable. The Pistons certainly agree, as GM Jeff Bower was quoted as saying: “We felt he was a first-round talent. I know it’s a cliché, but we had him targeted as a player we were impressed with. It’s a good night for the organization.”  A stacked draft and an untimely injury, however, conspired to push him into the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Such is life.

For his part, Spencer seems nonplussed over the slide.  From the BDC: "As for not being picked in the first round, things happen for a reason; it is, what it is. I'm can't wait to get started." Considering that the Pistons are a very good spot for his talents, I'm not surprised that Dinwiddie is taking everything in stride. The Mayor was Detroit's lone pick last night for a first year coach. The organization clearly sees him as an opportunity to get out-sized impact for their slot. Further, since the Pistons are very light in the backcourt, I would expect plenty of early opportunities to see the court for the rookie.

At the end of the day, the Pistons are getting one hell of a player in a position of need, one who will make plenty of other GMs rue the day they passed on him.  Congratulations to Spencer! I look forward to watching you rip up the East (other than My Bulls) over the coming years.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 NBA Draft Preview: The Mayor's Election Day!

Compared last year's mediocre NBA Draft class, 2014's is loaded with familiar, bankable names, headlined by some, seemingly, sure-fire future professional stars.  That doesn't mean draft day arrives without any uncertainty, however. Quite the contrary, in fact. With the injury to Kansas' Joel Embiid, the top of the draft, which at one point appeared solid, has been thrown into flux.  Further, with the recent free agency announcements of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, many teams will be taking the opportunity afforded by the draft to adjust their salary cap situation, leaving the actual order of the top picks in question.  Tonight could be nuts.

Of course, I'm less concerned about all of that than I am about CU's third draftable entrant in four years: Spencer Dinwiddie.  Tonight's the night!  Tonight we learn the direction of his professional career!  I simply couldn't be more excited.
Election Day is here!
The Mayor chose to forego his final season of collegiate eligibility, despite an ACL tear that cut his junior campaign short and limited his availability for workouts.  While that injury threw his draft prospects into doubt, Dinwiddie's recovery has been ahead of schedule.  A recent ESPN article quoted both Spencer's surgeon - Dr Armando Vidal - and his trainer - Russ Paine - in praise of his progress.  He's sprinting and double-jumping without any pain, and, while he's still staying clear of contact situations, he seems to be well on his way to a full recovery.  Dinwiddie's decision to go pro was partly to open up access to professional-level rehabilitation.  From that aspect, the gamble appears to have already paid off.

Given the promising recovery schedule, we've seen recent mock drafts include the Mayor in the first round, including this one from Sports Illustrated.  While those mocks are never perfect, I take them as encouraging signs that we'll be hearing his name earlier than later this evening.  At the time of his decision, there were plenty of doubters who howled that Dinwiddie should've returned to college, and tonight those same people will be looking to the results as a referendum on his decision. I've never been a big fan of using results to justify previous actions, but a favorable draft position would go a long way to silencing those Negative Nancies.

Should Dinwiddie be selected in the first round, he'll be the third CU player to be taken in the top-30 over the last four years.  Alec Burks was taken by the Utah Jazz with the 12th overall pick in 2011, while Andre Roberson was a shock 26th overall selection last year by the Oklahoma City Thunder (via the Minnesota Timberwolves).  That would be a monumental testament to the increased quality of the Colorado talent pool in recent years, and an encouragement to future recruits that success on Boulder's hardwood can lead to future professional riches.

For the record, I think Spencer receives a coveted first round selection.  Not for nothing, but the LA Clippers, who own the 28th selection, would make for a suitable landing spot, as well as fulfill a home-town wish for the Los Angeles native.  But, even if he slips to the second round, it's still a massive accomplishment for the young man just to be drafted.

Good luck, Spencer!


Of course, Spencer isn't the only one hoping to hear his name called this evening.  Here is a list of some familiar names for BuffNation to listen for:

Joel Embiid - 7-0, C - Kansas -

The lanky Jayhawk had been considered the top prospect in the draft, but his recent injury has slid him down most boards.  Still, expect him to go early.

Andrew Wiggins - 6-8, SG - Kansas -

Wiggins is one of many that look to capitalize on Embiid's slide, with many now projecting him as going #1 overall to Cleveland.

Marcus Smart - 6-3, PG - Oklahoma State -

Smart's decision to return for his sophomore season doesn't seem to have cost him too dearly, and we should see him go in the early stages of the lottery. College basketball's pre-eminent flopper will feel right at home in the NBA.

Aaron Gordon - 6-9, PF - Arizona -

Arizona's defensive dynamo should slot in among Wiggins, Embiid, and Smart at the head of the class.  I'm still not sure he will ever score consistently as a professional, but someone's got to defend, right?

Zach LaVine - 6-6, PG - UCLA -

Many basketball experts love LaVine's raw talent, but I can't shake the feeling that he'll be stuck in development hell for the next few years.  A mid-first round selection for him.

Kyle Anderson - 6-9, PG/PF - UCLA -

'Slo-mo' may still not have a position, but he's too good of a basketball player not to be taken in the first round.  I think his team will be pleasantly surprised by the production they get out of him.

Jordan Adams - 6-5, SG - UCLA -

Rounding out UCLA's big three, Adams looks to be a fringe first round talent.  Probably more likely to hear his name called in the second.

Dwight Powell - 6-11, PF - Stanford -

Powell is eminently talented, and has the versatile skillset to earn a later pick.

Nick Johnson - 6-3, SG - Arizona -

The do-it-all All-American is proably a second round pick.  Just doesn't have the size that NBA GM's like in their off guards.

Josh Huestis - 6-7, PF - Stanford -

I included Huestis not because I expect him to be drafted tonight, but as a final testament to the fact that he was my favorite non-Buff of the past few years of Pac-12 basketball.

C.J Wilcox - 6-5, SG - Washington -

The former-Husky sharpshooter could be a late-round selection.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Grab Bag: Can the US Rebound to Advance to the Sweet 16?

Before I get to the soccer, allow me to submit a friendly reminder that the NBA draft is this Thursday.  The Mayor, Spencer Dinwiddie, figures to prove the doubters wrong by having his name called at some point.  I'll have a teaser up in a few days, but, until then, let me simply point out that more and more mock drafts have been including the point guard in spite of his ongoing recovery from an ACL tear.  Echoing Andre Roberson's shock call last summer, I'm expecting a pleasant surprise on Thursday.


Today in the bag, I'm talking the USMNT's last second letdown against Portugal, their chances at advancement, and the landscape of the World Cup as group play concludes.

Click below for the bag...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: Champions crowned as the World Cup begins

OK, so it seems I was just a little off base in my pronouncement last week that the Heat were set to roll to their third-straight NBA title.  It turns out that their LeBron-fueled Game 2 victory, which I took as a declaration of intent, was actually more of a reflexive yip from a wounded animal getting ready to die quietly in a corner.  Instead of it being 3-1 Miami headed back to Texas, the Spurs ran the table in South Beach, and comfortably claimed the title last night in the home of the Alamo.  Whoops, my bad.
Wait, that's not LeBron...
It was brutal watching Miami flop around harmlessly against San Antonio through three straight defeats. Culminating in yesterday's 104-87 Spurs triumph, the average margin of victory for San Antonio over their four victories in the series was 18 points per game.  It was utter domination.

While I can't help but wonder just how broken the Heat are, it would be criminal to take anything away from the triumphant Spurs, who clearly deserved the 5th title of the Tim Duncan era.  They were fantastic, putting on a display of team-oriented, fluid basketball that comes as a salve to any true basketball fan yearning for glimpses of the beautiful game we first fell in love with.  Honestly, it may have been the most impressive championship performance of the recent era.  Congrats, San Antonio!


Today in the bag, I'm taking an extended look at World Cup soccer, before acknowledging the crowned Kings in Los Angeles.

Click below for the bag...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: On the eve of the World Cup

Straight to the action...

Today in the bag, I'm talking Stanley Cup Final, NBA Finals, and the World Cup.

Click below for the bag...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The All-Time Starting Five for $15 Game: Colorado Basketball Edition

If you're anything close to a basketball fan, you've undoubtedly seen this photo that has been sweeping the internet over the last few weeks.  The wizards over at came up with the perfect bar discussion game when they asked their readers to choose an All-Time NBA starting five from a pool of greats... only with one catch.   Every player is tabbed with a particular value, $1-$5 within each position, and you're slapped with a draconian salary cap of only $15 with which to build your 'team.'

Overnight, the $15 game became an internet sensation, and the talk of the basketball world (outside, of course, that whole 'NBA Finals' thing).

It's simply brilliant.  If given free reign over the pantheon of basketball's greats, anyone could piece together the best starting five by simply taking the best player at every position.  The valuation and salary cap makes everything much more complicated.  Do you sacrifice your shooting backcourt to lock down the paint? What sacrifice will you make to secure the services of the great Michael Jordan?  Is Kareem really worth an extra buck over Bill Russell? The discussion points are endless.

(For the record, my $15 five looks like this: Stockton ($2), Jordan ($5), Pippen ($1), Duncan ($3), Shaq ($2), and a $2 well at the Dark Horse.)

Not content with just debating the merits of the best in NBA history, hardwood aficionados have taken the game and made it their own, applying it to individual teams across the playing spectrum.  Given some prodding from the Mayor himself (and Zach Ruebesam!), I figure it's CU's turn, and have agonized over the history of our beloved program to set up the playing field.  See below, pick your five, and hit me up in the comments or on Twitter (@Rumblinbuffalo) with your All-Time CU Starting Five for $15.

(Disclaimer: No current players included in the main game)

PG –

Chauncey Billups - $5
Jay Humphries - $4
Spencer Dinwiddie - $3
Stevie Wise - $2
Marcus Hall - $1

SG –

Alec Burks - $5
Richard Roby - $4
Cory Higgins - $3
Donnie Boyce - $2
Michel Morandais - $1

SF –

Ken Charlton - $5
Scott Wedman - $4
Andre Roberson - $3
Chris Copeland - $2
Blair Wilson - $1

PF –

Cliff Meely - $5
Shaun Vandiver - $4
Bob Jeangerard - $3
Stephane Pelle - $2
Bob Doll - $1

C –

'Burdie' Haldorson - $5
David Harrison - $4
Jim Davis - $3
Chuck Gardner - $2
Scott Wilke - $1

(My 5?  Mayor, Boyce, Cope, Meely, Davis.  Scoring for days.) 

- Now that you've picked your five, add some spice with a free walk-on, or add $3 and select a coach -

Walk-On - 

$0 - Beau Gamble
$0 - Billy Boidock
$0 - Preston Slaughter
$0 - 'THE' Brett Brady
$0 - Trent Beckley

Coach -

$5 - 'Sox' Walseth
$4 - Tad Boyle (Praise be his name)
$3 - 'Frosty' Cox
$2 - H.B. Lee
$1 - Ricardo Patton

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: Let the Finals begin

You can tell I'm bored when I click on an article like this one that offers ESPN's list of the top-50 college basketball coaches.  For a second, just a second, I'll even allow myself to become invest in the drivel of meaningless offseason arguments, and spend time and energy getting worked up over the fact that the Worldwide Leader's panel of 'experts' slotted the likes of Tim Miles and Mick Cronin ahead of Coach Tad Boyle (may his name be praised).  Then I catch myself, reminded of the fact that none of that crap matters, and turn back to the far-too-slow melting of this site's countdown clock towards November.  Soon. November will be here soon...

(Although, for fucks sake, I challenge anyone to actually watch Cincinnati play without wanting to rip their eyes out.  Cronin should not get rewarded for playing negative, bruising basketball!  ... *deep breaths*)


Today in the bag, I'm talking My Hawks going down in Game 7, a repeat Finals in the NBA, and Team USA's preparation for the World Cup.

Click below for the bag...