Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: Game Week

Happy game week!

We've made it, the summer is over!  From here to April, there's actual CU sports to discuss, and I couldn't be more excited.

Just to make sure you're equally as pumped, here's this awesome video of Ralphie running for the freshman last week:

Ahhhhh, Ralphie is back in Folsom.  All is right with the world.

Oh, you need more hype?  How about the latest entry in @CU_Video's latest edition of Proving Grounds:

Yeah, that's the ticket.


Today in the bag, I'm talking this weekend's women's soccer action, a 5-star visit to CU, and the Nuggets coming to Boulder.

Click below for the bag...

Women's soccer opens fall campaign in style - 

If you were looking to see the Buffs kick the Rams square in jaw, you didn't have to wait until August 29th. Last Friday afternoon at Prentup Field, the women's soccer team got the fall sports season of to a roaring start, surging past the Rams for a 2-0 win in the annual Colorado Cup.
'Little Sister' can't hang, either.  From:
The Buffs left it late.  They had been knocking at the door all game, but seemed to lack the quality in the final third required to beat the determined CSU defense.  Finally, thanks to the speed and skill of sophomore Brie Hooks, CU broke through in the 74th minute.  Hooks took the ball on the right wing, and simply out-ran a pair of Rams on a diagonal run through the middle before firing off a shot between a pair of would-be tacklers.  The ball rose past the goalie, and deflected in off the cross bar for a 1-0 Colorado lead. The Buffs would add another just a few minutes later, as freshman Brittney Stark hammered home a cross in the 79th minute to erase all doubt.

Hooks, a selection to the 2013 All-Pac-12 Freshman Team looks to be only better than she was last season, when she notched eight goals in a injury-marred campaign.  She's as lightning quick as ever, and seems a danger to create a chance every time she touches the ball. Expect to hear her name a lot more.

Sunday bought the second game of the season against Northern Colorado, and the story was similar.  The Buffs dominated the early chances, but couldn't turn a 9-2 first half shot advantage into a lead. A brutal offside call kept the Buffs off the board early in the 2nd half, but wound't stymie the attack permanently.  CU kept up the pressure, and a corner kick in the 61st minute finally produced the game's first score.  The kick swept in off the crossbar, and dropped, helpfully, at the feet of Colorado midfielder Darcy Jerman for the easy put-back from just a few feet out.
Another close game on Saturday, and another win for Colorado.  From:
At that point it looked like a clear win for CU.  With just minutes to go, however, a miss-played header fell at the feet of UNC's Essence Ortiz-Laneir with a clear path to goal.  She wound her way into the box, and unleashed a shot that seemed sure to tie the game.  Breathless CU goalie Kate Scheele watched as the ball soared over her head... and thwacked off the post, before rebounding into her waiting arms.  The 1-0 final was secured.

Thanks to the crossbar, which both helped score two goals and prevent another, the Buffs escaped catastrophe, and earned a perfect 2-0 start to 2014.

Tyler Dorsey to visit CU - 

Some surprise basketball recruiting news hit last week when it was leaked that 5-star guard Tyler Dorsey is going to spend one of his official visits on Boulder and the University of Colorado.
Dorsey's visit is a huge surprise.
This is big news ($).  It was only months ago that Dorsey was an Arizona commit, figuring to be a pain in CU's side in their continuing push for a league title.  Slowly but surely, however, the Wildcats began to look elsewhere.  After the UofA claimed highly touted point guard Justin Simon, Dorsey saw the writing on the wall, and opened his recruiting back up.  Now, the Buffs have a shot at bringing this dynamic talent into the fold.

While Arizona no longer wants him, Dorsey's list of suitors has remained long. In addition to CU, Dorsey will be taking visits to Kansas, Oregon, and Arizona State.  A 6-4 combo guard with a strong shot and plus athleticism is appealing at any level, and that list alone tells you all you need to know about the caliber of player we are talking about.  Not for nothing, but he's currently rated as the 18th overall prospect in the 2015 recruiting class by Rivals, and is listed as a 5-star on most sites (Scout is a notable exception).

Looking at his hype videos, it's easy to see why the Colorado coaching staff would be interested in him. He's got good size, length, and versatility from the perimeter, and can play at the rim.  He rebounds well, and creates matchup problems all over the place.  These are all hallmarks of what Coach Boyle looks for in his guards.  Beyond just the talent alone, it appears that Dorsey would be a good fit for CU's guard-centric system.
Dorsey has the tools.
The news of his visit seems to have come out of nowhere, as the recruiting cycle had not been going well for the Buffs. Prime targets like Jeremy Hemsley and Cameron Walker had passed them by in favor of regional rivals, and the list of possibilities for the lone scholarship on offer for 2015 was getting shorter by the day.  It had gotten to the point that some were even questioning if Coach Boyle could 'recruit with the big boys.'  If Boyle can land Dorsey, I believe that question will have been answered.

To that end, CU remains a long-shot for Tyler's signature.  Kansas looms, and if they want him, it appears Bill Self will have another 5-star recruit for his resume.  But, just getting him to Boulder, the #1 college town in America, would seem to give the Buffs a shot.  (He'll be coming to Colorado on September 19th for the Hawai'i football game, a week after Oregon, and well before KU).  Signing a player like Tyler would be a massive step forward for the program.  Recruiting is all about perception, and, should Dorsey chose Colorado, he'd be seen as a transformative recruit, one capable of pushing the program into the next level. A hefty prize, indeed.

Of course, should Dorsey go elsewhere, all is not lost.  Colorado is still in the running (and considered a strong favorite for) Kansas City combo guard Landry Shamet.  No mere consolation prize, Shamet is a major conference talent who would fit well in the Colorado system.
Shamet remains CU's best hope for 2015.
Landry is supposed to visit the week before Tyler, and that visit could wind up being even more important to CU Basketball's future than Dorsey's.

The Nuggets to visit the CEC - 

Just as random as the silent recruitment of one of the nation's best high school talents, the Denver Nuggets announced late last week that they will play one of their preseason games in Boulder at the Coors Evens Center.  Mark your calendars, because the pros come to town October 21st.
It'll be interesting to see just how packed the CEC will be for the Nuggets.
The exhibition will be against the Portland Trail Blazers, just as it was seven years ago when the Nuggets last played in Boulder.  My first reaction was: 'Why the Trail Blazers?'  With former Buffs now littering NBA rosters, why couldn't Denver have scheduled the return of a favorite son?  Why not the Indiana Pacers and former CU star Chris Copeland, or the Utah Jazz and Alec Burks, or the Oklahoma City Thunder and Andre Roberson, or the Detroit Pistons and Spencer Dinwiddie?  I realize the Nuggets aren't basing their scheduling decisions on the whims of the CU fanbase, but it strikes me that a matchup like those would bring a higher gate from interested locals.

As it is, I'm still excited to see the pros scrimmage mere blocks from my house.  As a CU season ticket holder, I'll have an early opportunity to purchase tickets.  If only for the novelty of the event, I'm planning on going. I know this may sound hypocritical, given my stance on preseason NFL football, but I'll tell you this: if the Broncos played in Folsom, I'd probably show up.  It's not everyday that the pros show up at your doorstep.

Happy Monday!

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