Colorado Week: Six-Man Recruiting Class Bolsters Solid Set Of ReturneesPosted by AMurawa on July 25th, 2012
On the heels of last year’s surprisingly good recruiting class, head coach Tad Boyle landed a huge six-man class this season, signing three terrific home-state talents, while also stealing a couple more players from out of the Los Angeles area and landing an intriguing talent from Michigan. The six of these guys are all over the place in terms of their positions and their strengths, making this an incredibly balanced recruiting class that should be able to step in and immediately contribute. We’ll break all six of them down below, roughly in the order of the contributions we expect from them.
Josh Scott, Freshman, Power Forward, 6’10” 215 lbs, Lewis-Palmer High School, Monument, CO – Last year’s Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball in Colorado, Scott led his high school team to the state 4A championship while averaging 28.5 points per game (best in the state), 11 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. He’s a super athlete with good fundamentals and a good feel for the game. A four-man with some of the offensive skills of a three, he can score in the post with jump hooks from either side, or can face up his man and take him off the dribble in short bursts. Like most freshmen, he needs to get stronger and he could stand to improve his jump shot, but just on his combination of athleticism and basketball IQ alone, he should be ready to play a big role right out of the gate. He should be in line for some of the minutes left behind by Austin Dufault, and could even help Andre Roberson man the front line while guarding the other team’s center. He’s got the skill set that could make him a future NBA player and all accounts are, he’s got the hard-working commitment to go with those skills.
Xavier Johnson, Freshman, Combo Forward, 6’6” 220 lbs, Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, CA – Johnson is one of two players who played high school ball at Southern California power Mater Dei. Over his four years at the school, he helped his team compile a sterling 129-9 record, including state championships in each of his final two seasons. As a senior, he averaged 18.1 points and 9.2 rebounds and won the CIF Player of the Year honors. And he is, in short, a beast, with dunks over Shabazz Muhammad and Austin Rivers studding his resume. He’s got a body that is ready to step in an immediately take the pounding of a 30-plus game schedule and CU coaches have raved about his competitiveness, his maturity, and his willingness to learn. And, he’ll need to learn, because while athletically he is ready to go, he’s still needs to dial in his offensive game. Nevertheless, he’ll likely step directly into a major role immediately for the Buffs, spending most of his time at the three, but displaying the toughness that allows him to spend time as an undersized four.
Wesley Gordon, Freshman, Power Forward, 6’8” 225 lbs, Sierra High School, Colorado Springs, CO – Gordon was a close friend – and close rival – of Scott in high school, as his team fell by a single point to Scott’s squad in the title game. Still, Gordon wound up as an All-Colorado selection after averaging 19.7 points per game and helping Sierra to a 26-2 record. Now, he comes into a CU frontcourt that already features the pro prospect Roberson and adds Scott and Johnson to the mix. But, don’t worry about Gordon. He’ll find his way onto the court. He may not have as polished of an offensive game as Scott nor Johnson, but he’s got a great motor on the defensive end and a ton of upside. If nothing else, he can pitch in as a terrific defender and rebounder in his freshman year while aspiring to a role similar to what Roberson played in his first two seasons.
Xavier Talton, Freshman, Point Guard, 6’1” 180 lbs, Sterling High School, Sterling, CO – Talton is the first of two freshman point guard commits for the Buffaloes, each ready to step in and take over the lead guard duties should Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker prove to be more suited to the two. Talton averaged 18.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 4.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game as a senior after leading his team to the 4A championship as a junior. He’s about to take a big step up in the level of competition, but he’s got some intriguing skills. While all of those senior year numbers for Talton look great, it is the rebounding number that sticks out for a 6’1” guard. That gives you a good idea as to the athleticism and feel for the game that Talton is said to possess. He’s a capable scorer from the point, but also looks to get his teammates involved. It is possible that he’ll fit right in with Dinwiddie and Booker in the backcourt, as a trio of guards who have the ability to score the ball or be the primary distributor, depending on the situation.
Chris Jenkins, Freshman, Small Forward, 6’6” 185 lbs, University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Detroit, MI – Boyle has made a habit of stealing kids out of the LA area who were ignored by UCLA and USC, but now he’s turned his attention east to do the same thing with this Detroit kid who was ignored by Michigan and Michigan State. Jenkins says he has a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove those schools wrong for bypassing him, and given Booker’s success trying to prove UCLA wrong last year, Boyle may have another sleeper on his hand. Jenkins was a first-team all-Michigan selection by MLive.com, and averaged 20 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 80% from the free throw line, 40% from beyond the arc and 67% from the field – all while be asked to play either the four or five. At CU, he’ll spend most of his time at the three, and could turn into a three-point specialist for the team, but he’ll have to work hard to crack a rotation that is already chock full of talent.
Eli Stalzer, Freshman, Point Guard, 6’3” 185 lbs, Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, CA – Stalzer, a high school teammate of Johnson who also boasts the same 129-9 career record at Mater Dei, was the last of the six 2012 recruits to sign with the Buffaloes, inking his commitment to Boyle in March. And, while the rest of the six-man class features gaudy statistics, Stalzer’s senior year line indicates an entirely different type of player: 5.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game (although it could be noted that the point guard did lead his star-studded state-championship team in blocked shots). This is not a guy who is ever going to be an offensive stalwart for Boyle, but he has a great basketball IQ, he’s a proven leader, he’s unselfish and he can be a defensive pest. He’s not a great athlete, however, and with guys like Dinwiddie, Booker, Talton, and even Jeremy Adams and Sabatino Chen likely ahead of him in the backcourt rotation, it may be a long haul for Stalzer to earn a spot in the rotation. A redshirt year in 2012-13 is not out of the question.