Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Attrition Files: Tre'Shaun Fletcher and Kenan Guzonjic

The news spread like wildfire Wednesday night, breaking up an otherwise monotonous evening of #BuffsTwitter infighting: the transfer rumors were true, but it was two Buffs, not just one, who were leaving the program.  As it became clear, both junior wing Tre'Shaun Fletcher and sophomore forward Kenan Guzonjic had decided to continue their playing careers elsewhere, shaking up the narrative I had laid out in last week's Tuesday Grab Bag.  Colorado, rather than hitting the summer with a fully complimented roster of 13 scholarship players, would indeed be hitting the break with two open slots.

The surprise here isn't that there is a transfer scenario playing out in Boulder, or even the players involved. In fact, when I had a discussion with a good friend of the blog a few weeks back about the transfer rumors, the first two speculative names out of my mouth were Kenan and Tre'. What is a surprise, at least to me, is that it was multiple players pulling the trigger, making this the second consecutive offseason that it's transfers, plural, emanating from the program (Dustin Thomas and Jaron Hopkins left last spring). I guess, in retrospect, we all should've seen the writing on the wall.  Coach Boyle himself alluded to the potential for multiple transfers in his post-season presser Tuesday afternoon, citing a plan for a second scholarship to open up.  It is what it is, and I view these moves in a significantly different light than I did those from a year ago, but it still means the coaching staff will have to stay active on the recruiting trail this spring, probably in the hunt for at least one incoming transfer to even out class balance.

But, those are all matters for another day.  What this article is about is remembering the contributions of Fletcher and Guzonjic to our beloved Colorado Buffaloes.  After the jump, I'll give each the farewell treatment, focusing, as always, on the best aspect of their games, what they will best be remembered for, and their best single efforts in Black and Gold.

Click below for the article...

Tre'Shaun Fletcher

When BuffNation was first introduced to 'the Condor,' it was as Tre'Shaun Lexing of Tacoma, WA.  On signing day, he changed the last name from Lexing to Fletcher to honor his mother, and later changed his hometown from Tacoma to Wilmar, AR, where he had grown up.  The real Tre' eventually shining through on the roster page, as well as the court.
A do-it-all win, Fletcher was an important cog for the Buffs over three seasons.  From: the BDC
Tre'Shaun would go on to serve as a key backup and spot starter on the wing for each of his three seasons in Boulder, less a stretch out injured after that game in Seattle his freshman year.  His numbers never popped off the page at you - 7/3/1 averages this year - and only occasionally did his athleticism or basketball IQ set him ahead of his peers, but he always kept his ORtg over 100, and improved each and every year on the roster.  Add to it an ability to play (and guard) multiple positions, and he was a successful jack-of-all-trades in Black and Gold.  I grew to respect his presence on the court and make a note of the times that he was held back in favor of other wings.  I didn't always get it, figuring Fletcher to be a very valuable, impact presence that could've helped the team in crunch minutes, and, in fact, often found myself muttering, 'where the hell is Fletcher?' when the shit started to hit the fan.

Accordingly, the general assumption is that Tre' is leaving the program due to decreasing playing time and increasing competition for minutes at the wing spots.  Indeed, after initially being a part of the three-man rotation for the two starting wing spots at the beginning of the 2015-16 season, he neither started nor played at least 20 minutes in the team's final six ballgames, only starting one game overall after the calendar flipped to February.  It had become clear that he was third choice, behind both George King and Josh Fortune, in the rotation, and the prospect of adding two freshmen, a returning Xavier Johnson, and heralded senior transfer Derrick White to the mix at wing only projected to further limit Fletcher's minutes next season.
Tre' was kind of squeezed out the of the rotation this winter.  From: the Ralphie Report 
However, I can't help but wonder if there's an opportunity missed here.  If you look towards the 2017-18 season, Fortune, White, and Johnson will all be gone, with plenty of minutes to go around for versatile veterans who don't mind playing defense or grabbing rebounds.  Tre' will be taking a redshirt season anyway, wherever he ends up, so a year off in Boulder doesn't seem completely out of the question (in fact, I have heard he was offered exactly that). That Fletcher chose to look elsewhere for his final season of eligibility makes me think he was just really looking for a fresh start somewhere else, and that the decision was more than just a pure minutes calculation.

Regardless, I will really miss Tre'Shaun.  He was, undoubtedly, one of my favorite players on the team the last few years, mixing in that rare combination of versatility and willingness to do the little things that I love in a sixth man.  I say, unreservedly, that I will be a fan of his where ever he goes next, and look forward to seeing him get the minutes he deserves at his next stop.

Thank you, Tre'!


Best Remembered for:

This steal/dunk/and-one combo against Kansas from his freshman year:
Also, his chin-strap beard.  World-class, that.

Best Aspect of his Game:

Playing anywhere and everywhere.  Versatility was the key with him, and the Buffs used him in a number of differing situations, as a result.  Not a true point forward, he could still spark the offense up top, lurk in the corner for a three, or even post a play or two up down low.  He wan't phenomenal at any one task on offense (the 'master of none' tag to that old phrase), be he could be a dangerous matchup for opponents in a number of ways.  On defense, the team could saddle him with guarding any number of positions, and you could usually see him defending the attacking threat off the edge.

Best Game as a Buff - 1/17/16 vs Oregon - 

It took a deep, potent bench for the Buffs to beat the eventual league champions and Elite Eight entrants Oregon at the CEC the season, and Tre'Shaun helped lead the way for the bench mob in support of the starters.  His 14 points and omnipresent defense that afternoon helped spur a dramatic, exuberant win for the Buffs; a key result in the push for a return to the NCAA Tournament.  A shame more people didn't see it, transfixed as they were with the Broncos' playoff run.  Oh well, those lucky few of us who were there will be able to remember Tre' at his best.


Kenan Guzonjic

We in BuffNation never really got to know Kenan.  A JuCo import from Bosnia, via Texas, he struggled with health and conditioning in a losing battle with playing time over his lone season in Boulder.  That he eventually settled into a role as a member of the 'Larry Bird Squad' wasn't that big of a surprise, considering the talent up front for Colorado, but he was rarely even looked at as an option in anything other than extreme circumstances after a spate of run in November.  In fact, once conference play started, he got a total of just 12 minutes, making his another situation where a transfer for more playing time makes sense.
Guzonjic never was able to make his mark in Boulder.  From: the BDC.
The glimpses we got told us of a stretch-four with the build to bang in the paint; a role that is always welcome.  To show it off, however, he seemed to need more time to get his body right.  Unfortunately, that chance to get healthy will come in a different uniform.  I think he will eventually be successful at D-I basketball, but a lower level of competition, out of the brutal spotlight of the Pac-12, may be what is ultimately needed.

Thank you, Kenan!


Best Remembered for:

Playing the often thankless job of a role player behind the scenes.  Who do you think was guarding Josh Scott and Wes Gordon in practice the last few months, helping them get ready for Pac-12 opponents?  Yep, Kenan, and he was making them work, too.

Best Aspect of his Game:

Three point shooting.  Both peeks at shoot-around and reports from practices told me that this kid can make shots.  Don't be surprised when you see him cashing corner treys in the future, possibly in a way that busts your bracket from a mid-major.

Best Game as a Buff - 12/19/15 vs Hampton - 

Late in the game against the Pirates, Guzonjic controlled much of the action in 'garbage time.'  Kenan went on to chip in eight points and five rebounds in nine minutes of play, proving that there's more to his game than just what we saw in other brief glimpses.

1 comment:

Aaron Jordan said...

Why do you think Fortune was favored over Fletcher this year? Fortune seemed to struggle a lot at times.