Colorado Post-MortemPosted by PBaruh on April 23rd, 2013
Now that we are officially in the offseason, it’s time to take a look back and evaluate each team’s 2012-13 performance. Here’s a look at Colorado.
What Went Right
Despite losing three starters from last year’s team, the Buffaloes had a lot of things go right for them in 2012-13. Spencer Dinwiddie improved tremendously from his freshman season by becoming the go-to scorer. Dinwiddie led the team in scoring at 15.6 points per game and sported a true shooting percentage at 59.1 percent. His two best games of the year came against NCAA Tournament teams Colorado State and Arizona at the Coors Event Center as he tallied 50 points and nine assists in the two contests. Andre Roberson was once again a double-double machine, averaging 10.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game in another strong season. In what was viewed by some as a possible rebuilding season, the Buffaloes responded with an at-large NCAA bid and a squad that competed if not actually challenging for the Pac-12 title.
What Went Wrong
They were certainly some letdown games from the Buffaloes as they lost to league bottom-dwellers Utah on the road and Oregon State at home. Colorado had a tendency to start lackadaisically against inferior opponents and it hurt them in several games. Individually, Askia Booker disappeared in conference play. The MVP of the Charleston Classic was irrelevant in the Pac-12 and finished with a 42.2 effective field goal percentage on the year. Booker certainly didn’t let his struggles deter him from shooting the ball as he attempted 11 or more field goals in all but two conference games.
Spencer Dinwiddie was the most valuable player for Colorado this year. Dinwiddie played 32.5 minutes per game and carried the offense on many nights. The 6’6″ point guard had an uncanny ability to get to the free throw line, good for 19th in the nation with a FT rate of 76.7 percent. Colorado’s offense has a tendency to stagnate when shots aren’t falling and Dinwiddie was the only player who could consistently attack the rim and provide scoring for the Buffs. Defensively, he showed he was elite right away as he shut down Pierre Jackson and Isaiah Canaan in the November Charleston Classic. He also contained Mark Lyons, Jahii Carson, and several other standout guards in the Pac-12 throughout the year. The versatility Dinwiddie brought on both ends of the court to Colorado makes him the most valuable player for this season.
Colorado will lose Jeremy Adams, Sabatino Chen, and Shane Harris-Tunks next year. None of the three provided consistent contributions off of the bench, but Chen’s tenacious defense and Harris-Tunks’ ability to guard larger players will be missed. Adams was an active defender and provided scoring at times. The trio combined for 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game but none were major contributors to Colorado’s run to the NCAA Tournament. Andre Roberson has not yet decided whether he will declare for the NBA Draft, but he is projected to go in the second round or not at all, so some believe he will stay at Colorado.
Players Coming In
Tad Boyle will bring in Jaron Hopkins out of Arizona, Tre’Shaun Fletcher out of Washington, and Dustin Thomas out of Texas. Fletcher is the only one of the trio to be in the ESPN100 recruiting rankings, but all three players bring versatility, length, and athleticism to Boulder. Hopkins is primarily a shooting guard, but he has the ability to take the ball upcourt, can finish around the rim, and excels in transition. Thomas is a power forward and a strong shooter who can play both inside and out. Fletcher can get to the rim with ease and shoots well. Additionally, the two redshirts from last year — Wesley Gordon and Chris Jenkins — will see their first action as Buffaloes in 2013-14. Jenkins is a 6’6″ shooter and Gordon is raw offensively, but he can defend and block shots and should be able to provide minutes off the bench.
Reason for Hope
Colorado will return at least four starters and possibly all five if Roberson returns. Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott will have another year of experience under their belts. Dinwiddie should be able to take another step forward and improve his game while Askia Booker hopefully can correct his long-term shooting woes. With or without Roberson, this team will have much higher expectations than just making the NCAA Tournament in 2014. Pairing the best rebounder in the nation with a potential Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate and five new skilled players off of the bench gives the Buffs a legitimate shot to make the Sweet Sixteen.
Reason for Concern
The Buffs still don’t have a consistent second scorer and if teams focus on Dinwiddie, Colorado will again struggle to score. With expectations come pressure and that’s something that CU has not always handled well and could falter with (again) a young team. If Roberson leaves, Colorado is stuck with Josh Scott as its only legitimate big man who can score in the low post, but he has trouble boxing out and rebounding. The bench will definitely be more talented, but it remains to be seen if it can improve on its minor contributions from last year.
A- Colorado made the NCAA Tournament once again and has pieces for the future with Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott. The Buffaloes dealt with their inconsistencies and still had some unexpected losses, but it’s hard to find many problems with this season. Another year in the Pac-12 and another NCAA Tournament appearance left Buffaloes fans happy once again.