Headed into this weekends game with Colorado it occurred to me that it might be helpful to continue our little get to know segment where I can. In order to get a little insight into CU Buffalo basketball I have enlisted the guys over at the Ralphie Report to give us a little help.
Make no mistake while football is still the focus in Boulder, and after Saturday I think you'll see why, they are optimistic about the long term future surrounding the basketball program. With that in mind enjoy a little Q&A with Irish and Woodrow about Colorado basketball...and for there sake I threw a little gridiron question in at the end.
Jump into the post for full Q&A...
Colorado Basketball is a relative unknown right now. Tell us what we're getting with this 2008-2009 version of the Buffaloes.
Not a whole heck of a lot. You are getting a team with one upperclassman on the roster. The Buffs have shown they can shoot well but all year, the main problem has been rebounding.
Colorado thought freshman Toby Veal would help solidify the middle but that has not happened yet and when you expect a freshman to do anything that big, you know you are in trouble.
This is clearly a rebuilding year and it will be a program in rebuilding for a while going forward.
The Buffs have some good talent at the guard position in Cory Higgins and Nate Tomlinson but they are just too small and too inexperienced to do a lot in conference play. Higgins is the best player most of the Big 12 hasn't heard about. He has led the Buffs in pretty much every statistical category this year and really is their only chance to pull some upsets in conference play.
What is the perception of Jeff Bzdelik at CU? Are fans optimistic? Excited? or could they care less and why?
The basketball program was left in worse shape after the Ricardo Patton era than football was left after the Gary Barnett era, it was really bad. CU had seven players defect after Patton was fired so Bzdelik literally had nothing left and had to start from scratch thus the reason for only one returning upperclassmen.
I am high on Bzdelik. He is refreshing, doesn't make excuses and will build the program up to a respectable level in time. He has had that kind of success in the past in other positions.
Where do you see the program headed?
It will be in rebuilding mode for at least two more years and after that, I don't know. The Buffs don't have great facilities or fan support to really warrant a perennial top 25 team. All I have to say is they have a long way to go to get headed in the right direction.
The good thing is that I believe Bzdelik will have the time to build the program his way and I think he has shown he can do that in the past. He is recruiting relatively well. The Buffs are not going to get a better coach than Bzdelik and starting over again with another head coach would be detrimental to the program.
What should Jayhawk fans be most concerned with going into this matchup with Colorado on Saturday?
The only thing that should concern Jayhawk fans is if their team gets food poisoning. CU can't match KU's length or athleticism. The Buffs have not shown enough consistency in any aspect of their game to make a powerhouse like KU worry. If Cory Higgins goes off, then maybe the Buffs can keep it close for a while but without a doubt, Kansas will try and neutralize him.
What will be the toughest matchup for the Jayhawks as well as the Buffalos in this game in your mind?
Toughest matchup for the Jayhawks.......still thinking......now trying to make up something....all the Buffs really have is a decent point guard in freshman Nate Tomlinson and Cory Higgins is a good scorer but they don't really pose too much of a matchup problem for the Jayhawks. CU is just too young to expect a lot out of this year or next year.
This last one is a little of topic but we've had quite a bit of football conversations over at RCT lately and I think we would all be interested to know your perception on how the 2009 recruiting class is shaping up at CU and also how the 2009 football team looks at this far to early point in the offseason.
Football...thank you. CU basketball isn't really all that great to talk about right now.
Well, after a slow start, the wheels are turning with this recruiting class which is amazing seeing how the Buffs are coming off a mediocre year. Colorado currently has only 11 commits and they want to get to 20 - 22 but I can see after this weekend, 3 - 4 more committing and there are a few big guys out there that the Buffs are closing in on.
If the chips fall the way I think they will, the Buffs could end up with a class that is very strong, maybe top 25 strong. Even if it is not, the Buffs are in a position now where they aren't addressing every single position on the football team due to a lack of talent but are really pinpointing need areas and getting studs in the process.
You can say the Buffs have three weaknesses right now; WR, QB and DL. So far the Buffs have nabbed three wide outs (4* Diante Jackson, 4* Andre Simmons and 3* Jarrod Darden). Jackson and Simmons are still up in the air a little bit with the biggest worry being Simmons because he is a JUCO and frankly, JUCO's have a hard time meeting the academic standards at CU. Hawkins will probably sign a wide receiver this weekend in 3*/4* Terderma Ussery and rumor is that 4* Texas Tech commit WR Emory Blake may commit to the Buffs as well. That is a slam dunk if 4 out those 5 players are in black and gold next year.
As for defensive line, the Buffs really had a good run this past weekend getting the 5th ranked defensive end and the 42nd best player overall according to rivals.com in Nick Kasa. He was a former Florida Gator commit. For an encore, they got 4* DT Edward Nuckols to control the middle. Nuckols is 6'2" 290 lbs and should be ready to play from Day 1. Another plugger is 3* Nate Bonsu from Allen High School who won the 5A Texas State Championship. All three of these guys will be given the opportunity to play from Day 1 with Bonsu probably redshirting in the end. CU will probably sign two more defensive linemen.
As for quarterback, the Buffs signed 6'5" 225 pound Clark Evans, who was a stud this past year as a dual threat quarterback. He will probably be a redshirt candidate but we are excited about his upside. As you can tell, Hawkins has really turned it on and made us excited about the future of this team.