Colorado Week: Q&A With The Ralphie ReportPosted by AMurawa on July 27th, 2012
As part of our Colorado week, we wanted to reach out to the guys at The Ralphie Report for their takes on the upcoming Buffalo basketball season. Parker Baruh was kind enough to spend some time with us and give us his thoughts.
Rush The Court: In two years at Colorado, Tad Boyle has once taken his team to the verge of the NCAA Tournament, then broken through last year, even scoring a win. Along the way, the basketball team has garnered unprecedented fan support from the students. Is this the start of something special in the CU basketball program?
Ralphie Report: If Tad Boyle remains at Colorado for years to come, this is the start of something special in the CU basketball program. When Boyle was hired, Larry Brown said Boyle had the same qualities as Gregg Popovich, John Calipari and other great coaches that he has worked with. Ever since Boyle has been at Colorado, he has proved that. His first recruit, Andre Roberson, is going to play in the NBA. The guy is a nonstop worker and preaches team basketball and more importantly, team defense. In two years, he has changed an entire program that used to be only known for having Chauncey Billups. The Colorado basketball program will continue to improve and be an elite program in the future because of Tad Boyle.
RTC: You began your answer with “If Tad Boyle remains at Colorado.” Last offseason Boyle was briefly tied to the open Kansas State job and appears to be a rising prospect. What are the odds that Boyle will be around in Boulder in two years? In five years? And, if CU is just a temporary stop, what are the odds that the momentum he has helped begin can continue if he leaves?
RR: It’s difficult to evaluate Tad Boyle and whether he not he will ever leave Colorado. He say it’s his “dream job” and the way he talks about Colorado makes it seem like he really doesn’t ever want to leave, yet if a top school wants him with a little more history and prestige than Colorado, I don’t know if this still will be his “dream job.” If CU is a temporary stop for Boyle, the momentum would continue because of the fan support and Boyle’s recruits would still be at CU, but the environment would be so much different. Boyle brings so much energy and confidence to this program that it would be very hard to replace. However, Colorado fans shouldn’t worry too much because top jobs don’t become available too often; the only place he seems like he would go would be Kansas, and that doesn’t look like its opening up anytime soon. Other than that, it’s just hard to see him leaving. So, yes, the odds are good he’ll be around in two years and in five. Ultimately, Colorado fans are lucky to have Tad Boyle and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
RTC: Looking ahead to 2012-13, there is a lot to be excited about. Andre Roberson is being mentioned among the best players in the country and as a possible high NBA Draft pick next season. We know he can rebound, but he’ll likely need to play a bigger offensive role for the Buffaloes. How ready is he to take that next step?
RR: He’s definitely ready to take the next step and he took a big step last year. It seemed like everyone last year had too high of expectations thinking he would replace the point production of Alec Burks. He improved on so many different facets of his game last year because of his consistency and hard work; it would be unlikely for him to not take the next step this year. He’s arguably the best defender and is the best rebounder in the Pac-12, but if he could develop a post game and focus less on his outside shot, he’d be very hard to stop. His timing and leaping ability make him so dangerous around the rim that whenever he shoots from outside he’s doing the defense a favor. Ultimately, for him to take the next step, he needs to develop a dangerous post game and then he can stretch the floor with his shooting.
RTC: Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker both played huge roles in their freshman campaigns, but is Dinwiddie ready to take over the lead guard spot and is Booker ready to move into the starting lineup?
RR: Dinwiddie’s performance in the Pac-12 championship game and Booker’s play in the NCAA Tournament game against UNLV both prove that they are certainly ready to take on bigger roles for this year’s team. From the moment they played their first game for CU, they acted like confident, experienced players. One of the best qualities Dinwiddie has is his ability to get his own shot, yet never force it. He’s a great defender when he wants to be and the more he plays under Boyle the more consistent of a defender he will become. The thing to look for with Dinwiddie this year is if he can start to be a facilitator rather than just a scorer. However, Dinwiddie’s situation doesn’t worry me as much as Booker. It’s not that Booker won’t be ready to move into the starting lineup, but with Booker becoming a starter, essentially there is no offense off of the bench. The only other option to start is Jeremy Adams; he provides better defense and size than Booker, but nothing more. Clearly, Booker is the better player, and he’ll be ready to start, yet the only drawback is the 6th man you lose.
RTC: A talented six-man freshman class arrives and several of them will be expected to contribute early and often. Which of the newcomers are you most excited about?
RR: Xavier Johnson. He’s got great size for his position, can rebound very well, handle the ball, and get out and run. It’s tough to decide between him and Josh Scott. Scott seems like he will be better right away, but Johnson has the potential to be better. I think he’ll fit right in and he fills a bigger need. Having a great big man is ideal for any team, but the Buffaloes have Roberson and Shane Harris-Tunks, whereas there is absolutely no one who has a similar build, style, and scoring ability than that of the departed Carlon Brown more than Xavier Johnson.
RTC: Last year’s NCAA Tournament appearance raised expectations around the program, so much so that the Buffs are expected to reprise and improve upon last year’s success. In a more talented Pac-12, just how good can this team be and what needs to happen for them to reach their maximum potential?
RR: It’d be shocking to see anyone finish in front of UCLA or Arizona, however, anywhere from 3rd to 6th isn’t out of the question for the Buffaloes. For this to happen, Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson need to be impact freshman, similar to Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie last year. Andre Roberson has to be as consistent as he was last year and add a little bit more averaging something around 15 points and 9 rebounds and someone has to produce off the bench. I don’t see all of these things happening, but it’s possible. Right now, without seeing any of these freshman for Colorado play, I’d put the Buffaloes at 5th. I think two out of Cal, Stanford and Washington will fall in 3rd and 4th, but it’s hard to judge completely until college basketball gets underway.