I know this is an extremely early preview, as I and the rest of the fan base are licking our wounds after the humbling that Jamie Dixon and Pittsburgh gave our beloved Buffs. However, I have little to no other plans, and since I have caught up on most of the content online, I decided to create my own. Please bear with my ramblings and/or my incomplete thoughts. Now, back to the topic. Next year is in flux right now, as Spencer Dinwiddie, our fearless leader, is deciding whether to stay in school or leave for the NBA Draft. I am operating under the assumption that he goes for the same reason I don't expect birthday presents, it is better to be pleasantly surprised than mildly disappointed. Onward to position-based breakdowns!
This position will have the biggest hill to climb next year if The Mayor leaves. However, he would be departing with the faith that is placed in good hands. Before I delve in, I do consider Booker to be an off-guard, but Boyle has ambiguous guards anyways. Xavier Talton is the purest PG on the roster, and the stopgap next year if Spencer leaves. By the end of last year, he had shown what Booker lacks: a steady hand. He made the right decisions most of the time, and shot the ball well when needed. He is a very average starting PG who can develop into a consistent 3-point threat, something that is sorely needed. The future of the position is prized recruit and all-everything Dominique Collier. This smooth athlete is an amazing ball-handler, an improving shooter, and a floor general, plain simple. His future is very bright. As it is with seemingly every CU recruit the last 1000 years, he needs to put on weight. Eli Stalzer's name is mentioned, but that's all I am willing to do.
Askia Booker's swansong is here. The heart and soul of this Buffs team is in his senior year and has improved steadily since he got here. Obviously, he was forced to grow as a complete player, and while I think that his aggressiveness faltered as a result, he is now more skilled and hopefully he can gain his swagger back. Also at this SG/ combo guard position is Jaron Hopkins. He is the freshman I have the most hope for. With his athleticism, length, and defensive prowess, he can hold down that end of the court with a vengeance and slash to the basket on the other. His shot is decent, but his power lies above the rim. George King will be a good player in a few years, but not next year. He needs to develop his head.
This position is where the most potential lies. The starter next year is certainly Xavier Johnson, or BIg X. While his patented off-kilter, drunk-stagger style works often, his consistency can be improved. If he can keep his head on the court at all times, he can be special. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the court, and can defend 2-4 on the other side. Backing him up is Tre'shaun Fletcher, the mystery freshman. During his brief stint on the court, he showed tremendous offensive potential. What I was most impressed by was not his sweet stroke, but in fact his propensity for offensive rebounds. He always seemed to be in the right place and is very good at offensive spacing, which the rest of the team could learn from. Dustin Thomas is a swing forward, but he played at PF, so I'm placing him there for this preview. Segue!
The youngest position, power forward will be fun to watch for a few years. All in all, they have two freshmen and one incoming slated here (at least in my eyes). Wesley Gordon, Dustin Thomas, and Tory Miller. Oddly, Tory Miller is the most "power-forwardy" of the group. He is the heaviest at around 250 lbs, and at 6'8 he has the height to bang in the college paint. While not an above-rim athlete, he can do this.
It's comforting to know that kind of play is coming to Boulder next year. However, he may redshirt, as he will have little chance for minutes next year. Above him on the depth chart is Dustin Thomas. His high school tape showed a knockdown shooter who could move inside if need be. What we got is someone who just fell apart on the court. He showed flashes, but overall he played like, well, a freshman. The best phrase to describe his year would be missed opportunities. Starting, most likely, is Wesley Gordon. One of the best athletes on the team, he has impressed with his defense and rebounding, but has little skill on the offensive end. He has the ability to be something special.
Center (Josh Scott)
The only person on the roster listed at center will most likely be J40, who has earned every bit of praise thrown his way. I watch him, and I forget he is only a sophmore. A skilled offensive big man, Scott has a complete skill set, and this past year, turned up his defensive game. He was a pillar for this team, offensively, defensively, and with his leadership. Quite simply, Josh Scott is the face of this program.
This team is top-10, possibly top-5 with Dinwiddie returning. Assuming that he isn't, I believe the magic of Tad will take this team to a fringe top-25 team with a tournament lock. Depending on the roster for UCLA, I would say this is the third best in the Pac-12, behind Arizona and Utah ( I'm on the Delon Wright train). This team is improving, and fast. Before long, we're talking about a dynasty.
My ramble is over and feel free to critique me in the comments below!