Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: The wait for the 13th Buff continues

I'm a little abbreviated this week as we hit the offseason months with little built up news.

Today in the bag, I'm touching on a trio of smaller basketball notes, before closing with some talk about Canelo Alvarez v Amir Khan.

Click below for the bag...

Basketball Ephemera - 

Recruiting update

The search for the 13th and final BasketBuff for the 2016-17 season continues in the face of a stiffening wind, as targeted transfers begin look elsewhere. The big news last week was highly coveted Arkansas transfer Jimmy Whitt committing to SMU, which strikes as a major blow to us in BuffNation, as he was seen by many as CU's #1 target.  To pile on, the other primary guard target, Dayon Griffin, chose to sign with Central Florida, leaving Colorado with few options in the backcourt.
Olejniczak stands as the best hope for the 13th scholarship.  From:
The attention, then, turns to athletic center Dominik Olejniczak.  The former Drake Bulldog had previously visited Boulder, but was in Berkeley last week, kicking the tires on the Golden Bears.  If it comes down to Colorado or Cal, this is a recruiting battle that Coach Boyle needs to win; you don't want to have to see yet another recruiting miss end up back on your schedule twice a year.  Were he to sign with the Buffs, the true 7-foot center would add frontcourt depth and versatility in the years post-Wes Gordon, and would seem to be a seductive pairing for newly signed freshman Lucas Siewert.  Here's to hoping!

CEC Improvements

Lo and behold, our prayers have been answered.  After years of making due with a sound system essentially as old as many of the players toiling under it, the Coors Events Center is getting an aural boost in the form of some new speakers.  No word yet on if this improvement will also come with some new, shiny visual toys, as well, but the new system will, at least, drastically improve the gameday experience at the Keg.  Congrats to Rick George and crew for getting that sorted; this removes one item from my 'What if Rumblin wins the lottery' checklist.
YES!  From: @NeillWoelk
Fletcher looking to the Trans-Mississippi - 

Tre'Shaun Fletcher, formerly of the #RollTad Army, has apparently trimmed his college choices to a pair of southern destinations.  Per this tweet from Jon Rothstein, he's looking at Arkansas and Louisiana Tech, which makes it seem as if the Arkansas native is looking to move back home.  Were he to sign with the Razorbacks, it would actually make for two former Buffs on their roster, including old favorite Dustin Thomas, who will be coming off a redshirt this winter.  As promised, wherever he ends up, I will continue to be a fan of Fletch; for him to end up in Fayetteville with Dustin would just make things easier.

Canelo Alvarez sets himself up for shot at GGG - 

It was a weird set-up Saturday night in Las Vegas.  Boxing's biggest remaining draw, middleweight Canelo Alvarez, was fighting under his weight against a good, but not great, welterweight in the form of England's Amir Khan.  If it was the best fight available for Alvarez, which I doubt, it nonetheless made for a weak selling point for anyone outside the dependably dedicated legion of Canelo fans, and rang hollow after last year's post-Kentucky Derby card that featured the long awaited matchup between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.  For a sport that continues to flounder in the era of cord cutting and MMA, to have this dud matchup pop up on one of the premier nights of the year seems like a major tactical error.

Still, belts were on the line, celebrities were in attendance, and the brand new T-Mobile Arena was beckoning for those willing to suspend disbelief that this was anything but a tune up for... whatever it is that Alvarez schedules next.  And so, with the air of uncertainty and hope that proceeds any fight night, a most undesirable of matchups took place.
Why was this a thing again?  From:
For a time, at least, Amir Khan seemed to make a run at it.  The smaller fighter, beefing up for a payday and some added exposure, leveraged his speed and hand-quickness advantages into a pair of solid opening rounds.  Much like what we saw in the Canelo/Mayweather fight of three years ago, Alvarez struggled to zone in the stealthier opponent, and got tagged for his pleasure when he tried to chase.  Khan rightfully stole those opening rounds, and seemed to have built a reasonable, if not solid, case for potentially making a run at a decision.

Then, however, the weight of expectation seemed to lessen, and Canelo gained a foothold.  He began to land some body shots, slowing down Khan, and those blazing combinations of the first few rounds were less accurate and less frequent.  As round three bled into four and five, the fight was becoming more and more one-sided.  It was only a matter of time, then, before a mistake would send Khan spiraling to the canvas.  The moment of brutal poetry came in the 6th, as Alvarez feinted with his left to open up Khan before tossing a ferocious overhand right towards the Englishman.  It landed, Amir was spun 'round, and knocked back flat on the canvas.  One of the most picture-perfect KOs I've seen in a long time.
Yo, that was wicked.  From:
But, what does it all mean?  This was the way this fight was supposed to go, after all.  Canelo was supposed to get a KO here, and any other result, even a decision over the smaller fighter, would've been a major upset.  The whole event was a poor matchup and poor fan service from the get-go (why I watched a TOTALLY LEGAL STREAM, rather than purchase the PPV).  Really, the only thing this fight did was make even clearer the need for Canelo to fight Gennady Golovkin ("GGG"), if only because it's the only fight that makes sense for either party.  Boxing, like all sports, is all about what's next; how do we top what we've already seen?  Well, the only real way forward for either Alvarez or Golovkin is a head-to-head matchup.  Whether we actually get to see that super fight next, with both fighters in their primes, remains to be seen.  Regardless, the KO of Khan was largely superfluous, which makes me wonder why it was set up in the first place.

Happy Tuesday!

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