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I'm assuming that you all know the current storyline pretty well. The last 2 seasons have been like no other back-to-back in school history, for basketball. A record 24 wins in each of them, postseason tournaments and wins in both (NIT and NCAA), our first year in the Pac-12, while winning the postseason tournament (a feat we had never accomplished in any of the other 6 basketball conferences we were a part of), sellout crowds, new practice facilities, top tier recruits, current students and alums believing that we are a basketball school and one heck of a head coach. Yes, we and you are now in the Golden Age of Colorado Buffaloes Basketball and though brief, it has been extremely impactful and wildly successful both on and off the court.
2010-2011: Ranking first in career field goal attempts and second in field goals made, scoring average, 3-point attempts and minutes in game, Senior Brittney Spears and the co-all time leading scored in CU History, Senior Cory Higgins lead the way. The records do not even begin to tell the story of the men's team this season, but I'll share a few. Our mark of 24-14, notched the school record for wins, home wins (18), most home sellout crowds (5), most games played in a season (38), most team points scored (3,805), most 90-pint games (8), most rebounds (1,367), most free throws (679) and free throw percentage (.778)...
First year Head Coach Tad Boyle lead the Buffaloes to a 5th place finish in their final Big XII season and the NIT Final Four. I never watched so much CU basketball in a 2 month (February/March) span in my life, in the spring of 2011. Were we robbed of an NCAA birth? Probably. Was it pretty cool to have a few home NIT games on ESPN? Absolutely. The crowds were bonkers and because of the snub, the spotlight was on us, and we did not disappoint. Cory Higgins, Marcus Renphroe, Alec Burks and even Shannon Sharpe had highlights late in the season and postseason, setting the table for the following season and possibly years beyond. We all know how great Burks was, but just a couple numbers from his sophomore and final season in Silver, Black and Gold: set the all-time record for most points in a season (779), averaged 20.5 points per game and was named as a unanimous all-Big XII selection. Could it get any better than this?
2011-2012: Yes, it got better. Seniors Julie Seabrook and Austin Default standing "Shoulder to Shoulder on last season's cover. Not much or possibly too much to add on the storybook season and postseason just 8 months ago. We made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003, beat UNLV (6th seed), won 24 games (again) - marking the most wins in a 2=year stretch all-time, we won 4 Pac-12 Tournament games in 4 days to take the title and had two winning streaks (6 and 5 games). As for individual efforts, Sophomore Andre Roberson set the CU single-season rebounding record (401) breaking a 58-year old mark, Spencer Dinwiddie (360) and Askia Booker (317) became highest scoring freshman pair in team history (677), Senior transfer Carlon Brown was named the Pac-12 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, Cover Boy Austin Dufault set the school record for most games played in a career (136) & career conference games played (66) and Dufault and Senior Nate Tomlinson set the school mark for most wins over a four-year career (72-64, .529, 2008-2012). 72 wins in 4 years for the pair, with 48 coming in their final 2 seasons.
Let that sink in.
This team, inconsistent at times, was fun, fast, yet disrespected throughout the season, but fired on all cylinders in March. I can't remember the last time I watched a team as enthusiastically as I did these Buffs in the Pac-12 Tournament and then in the NCAA Tournament. It was a different feeling that I had when I went to games as a student for basketball or football, a different feeling than the 2001 Big XII Champion (still remember those Dr. Pepper commercials during every break in action)/Fiesta Bowl football team and definitely a different feeling than for any professional team I support. This was Colorado Buffaloes Basketball in their most exciting, dramatic and successful time, and I'd love to say, because I strongly feel, that it's here to stay.
2012-2013: Back to 2 schedules for each team? As a collector and fan, I love it. Junior Andre Roberson and Senior Meagan Malcom-Peck in their home whites. Now, as I stated in Part 1, I'm no expect when it comes to breaking down basketball, I'm just a huge fan of the sport and of my alma mater. If you are looking for some hard hitting season preview, player and team scouting reports or number crunching statistician, check out the other wonderful posts this week on Ralphie Report and in the other solid CU blogs, message boards and even check out the some previews on CuBuffs.com, including the Information Guide (pictured above).
I will say this: both the men's and women's teams will be dancing come March.
I believe that the men's team is better than last season's because of tournament/post season experience, more athleticism and being comfortable under Tad Boyle's system for a 3rd season. I know we have a tougher schedule, may not surprise as many teams, lost a few great leaders, went on a magical run to end the year, etc. but I see the surprises coming in the regular season for us this time around and come March, we will not be sneaking up on anyone. I look for this team to win 22+ regular season games and finish 3rd in the Pac-12 Conference. I also see us making it back (not winning) to the Pac-12 Tournament Championship Game and as I wrote earlier, becoming the first Colorado men's team in school history to make post season play 3 consecutive seasons. I see Boyle receiving that contract raise/extension he so richly deserves, I see 10 sellouts at the Coors Events Center and here is the wildest prediction of all: I see Andre Roberson retuning for his senior season in Boulder. Why not?!
Enjoy the season and thanks for reading! To the men's and women's teams, have a great 2012-2013!
CU in March!
Things were pretty going pretty great for the University of Colorado as we entered a new century. The football team was coming into its own under Head Coach Gary Barnett, the top party school rankings were rolling in annually and basketball was decent, and at times pretty good. It's silly to say that the foundation was laid for what was to come year years later and presently, but the Buffs of the early 2000's had some nice seasons and were led by some talented individuals and a quality head coach, if not, as history will show, one of the Top 5 head coaches the men's program has ever had. So, let's look at the not so ancient history and go to the Pocket Schedules...
2000-2001: 15 wins, but 15 losses. After bowing out in the first round of the NIT, the season before, Colorado put together a lackluster campaign to start a new century of basketball in Boulder. Great performances from Junior transfer DJ Harrison (38 points vs Austin Peay), Junior Jose Winston (15 assists vs. Coppin State) and Senior Jamahl Mosley (over 1,000 career points) marked some highlights, but a 9th place finish in the Big XII meant reinforcement was needed, in this case, in the way of ..."the most ballyhooed recruit in school history." http://a.espncdn.com/ncb/colorado01.html
2001-2002: Big brother to star freshman David, DJ Harrison, joined by current Oakland Grizzlies assistant women's coach Jenny Rouiler, on the cover. The men's squad won another 15 games, putting Coach Patton over 100 for his Colorado career, and though 5 players scored in double digits, it still was not enough to move up the Big XII ladder. Another 9th place finish, though everyone but DJ would return the following season. Just to comment on Jenny for a second, she was a three-time All-Big 12 Conference selection, led the Buffaloes to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in her senior season and ranks eighth all-time at CU with 1,399 career points.
2002-2003: Stephan Pelle (who I once had a conversation with at The Players Club, since closed, but was on The Hill) and Sabrina Scott http://www.collegejersey.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=15935 share the honors. This 20 win team (only the 3rd to accomplish that mark in school history, 2nd team under Patton) was undefeated at home in Big XII play (first and only time ever) and won 14 at home (the record before Boyle arrived). David Harrison (Sophmore) was a machine. He recorded the Buffs first ever triple double in Big XII play, set the team record for blocks in a game, then broke it 3 months later (11) and set the season block mark at 107, shattering the old record by 34. Home attendance was at a 20-year high and we made it to the NCAA Tournament for the 2nd time in 7 seasons. The last time we had been to the tournament 2 times in that short of span was 34 years before.
2003-2004: 3 players on the men's team eclipsed the 1,000 career point mark: Junior David Harrison, Senior Blair Wilson and our co-cover selection Senior Michel Morandais. And of course there was Tera Bjorkland, or should I say, "The Hall of Famer, #50..." http://www.cubuffs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=600&ATCLID=205025302 Another trip to postseason play (NIT), and a season mark of 18-11. Harrison, who departed before his senior season, left owning every block record for the Buffs, including an astonishing career number of 225, in only 3 seasons. Yes, Roby, Higgins, Burks and Roberson are the ones from the past 10+ seasons that most fans think about when stars of CU Hoops come to mind, but Harrison undoubtedly deserves to be in that Top 5. He never had a losing season in Boulder, made it to the NCAA Tournament and NIT in his 3 seasons and was a 1st round NBA draft pick. Last season he played in the NBA D-League http://www.nba.com/dleague/playerfile/david_harrison/index.html?nav=page Let's hope he makes it up to one of the big clubs again, sooner than later.
2004-2005: Junior bench sparkplug Glenn Eddy and Veronica Johns-Richardson http://bouldercountryday.org/ABOUT_MEET_FACULTY_STAFF_MIDDLE.php are our cover Buffs. Eddy, a fun choice on a Junior laden team, lead CU with 17 points in 21 minutes early in the season against non-conference foe Coppin State. CU was off to a 10-1 start, but only finished with 4 more wins in a 14-16 year. Richard Roby arrived and did not disappoint. All he did was lead us in scoring (first freshman since Chauncey Billups to lead the team) and ended up joining Donnie Boyce as the only Buffs to lead the team in scoring all four years on campus. The team also loved shooting the 3, more than any other in school history. 223 were made, besting the 98-99 squad by 5. Patton, notched career win 150, and another postseason berth looked to be in the cards the following season.
2005-2006: Another terrific season with 20 wins and 10 losses, another season record for 3 pointers made, wins at Oklahoma State and Missouri for the first times since 1980 and 1997, the 8th NIT appearance in school history and we were ranked in the USA Today/Coaches Poll (25th) for 2 straight weeks. Richard Roby, now a sophomore, became the 4th ever Buff to be named All-Big XII, but with 10 seniors leaving, any dreams of back to back 20 win seasons were just fantasies. A nightmare year was to follow with Ricardo Patton resigning before the year even started in a bizarre myriad of circumstances involving a contract extension dispute, a lack of respect, feeling no support from the athletic department for basketball, poor practice and playing facilities, a tough recruiting ground and on and on. A bunch of mumbo jumbo. http://www.orangepower.com/threads/colorados-patton-says-he-will-resign-at-end-of-season.27867/page-2
2006-2007: Senior Jasmina Ilic and Junior Richard Roby in their home whites are part of "Your Team"! I really like this cover, compared to others from the decade. I really did not like the season the men's team had. 7-20, including a losing record at home, do not even begin to tell the story. I'm sure someone much smarter and connected to the situation can shed a bit more light, but apparently this team was too young, quit on Patton, was pissed at his resignation, pissed at the AD for not keeping him on...any suggestions/ideas? I just do not know. This was the youngest team in the history of Colorado Basketball, but we still had Richard Roby who would go on to become one of the best all-time Buffs. So it was god speed to Ricardo and a big (?) welcome to (at the time) current Air Force and former Denver Nuggets head coach, Jeff Bzdelik, with an emphasis on the #zzzzzzzzzzz.
2007-2008: Susie Powers the senior in Gold (we should always have a gold alternate jersey for big home games for both teams) and fellow letterman Marcus Hall. Defense was the name of the game for these Buffs, holding their opponents to the lowest points per game total in 46 seasons. Turnovers were also at a 28 year low and free throw shooting was on the up. Like I said, #zzzzzzzzzzz. Final record in Roby's senior season? 12-20. He did leave as CU's all-time scoring leader with 2,001 points. A very consistent college career http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/player/_/id/22187/richard-roby and he is currently still playing professional ball overseas.
2008-2009: Jemyl Jackson-Wilson and Kara Richards, both seniors, and Ralphie IV! I mean, do I have to? We endured a 9-22 record, a 12 game losing streak to end the pain and no wins on the road. #zzzzzzzzzzz A couple of sophomores named Cory Higgins and Levi Knutson, along with a couple of freshman that go by Nate Tomlinson and Austin Default were part of Bzedelik's famed recruiting classes and all 4 made an impact, but it was an awful year and though next year we won 15, our coaching carousel continued to spin, but thankfully it stopped on who we now refer today as the leader of the Golden Age of Colorado Buffaloes Basketball. And by we, I of course mean me.
2009-2010: Thanks for the memories, Coach #zzzzzzzzzzz ! Dwight Thorne II and Bianca Smith are the seniors receiving the love from the marketing department to round out the decade. Alec Burks arrived on the scene and became the first Buff to ever be named Big-XII Freshman of the year. Chicagoan Marcus Renphroe joined the party as a Junior transfer, we set an all-time home attendance mark in the Big XII and Higgins blazed past the 1,000 point part while leading the conference in steals per game. I guess none of it was good enough, or the potential for the following season with all key components returning, as one again, our head coach left Boulder under strange circumstances. Maybe fans want to give him credit for trying to create a new culture in Boulder, getting practice facilities built and recruiting some legendary names, but he never had a winning season, left for what he assumes are greener pastures in an extremely tough conference to win consistently and I'd bet 90% of current student on campus wouldn't be able to name him if asked who our head coach was before Tad Boyle came to town.
It's funny how we can't wait to fire our last and current football head coach, fired the one before that, too, and with basketball, we can't hold on to them. And people like to tell me that we are not a basketball school. Hogwash. But, Boyle did come to town, with little pomp and circumstance, and in the two seasons since, well it's been quite a sight to this alum, other proud grads and a current fan base that is selling out home games on a consistent basis, traveling with the team to road contests and making the Coors Events Center the home court advantage that it always should be. Please, don't leave, Coach Boyle!
Coming up in our final installment, we will check out the most recent couple of seasons, look at this year's team and add in a few other images to get you prepared for Friday night's season opener and banner raising ceremony. I'm excited and I know you are too!
CU next time!
When we last left you, the 80's were over and mighty CU wasn't all that mighty. Basketball was sort of going in the opposite direction from football, as we endured 6 straight losing seasons and a few coaching changes. But, new Head Coach Joe Harrington came aboard to start the 90's, so let's check out what happened in pocket schedule form!
1990-91: With a 19-14 record (best in 21 seasons), lots of accomplishments were made in Coach Harrington's first season on the Buffaloes Bench. We snapped a 56-game regular-season road-losing streak in league play (thanks, Iowa State), we won our last game of the season (for the first time in 16 seasons) while ending a 22-year postseason drought, by earning 3rd place in the NIT!
1991-92: Senior Billy Law, who lead the team in minutes played and assists (5.4) per game, looks mighty sharp in silver. Notice the NIT Final Four Logo, too. Though the team could only muster a 13-15 mark, we beat 3 ranked teams, including #2 Oklahoma State at the time. Also, Freshman Donnie Boyce made an instant impact by scoring 21 points in his first game and leading the team in scoring for the season at 14.9. How cool is it that we had one of the "Three Amigos" in Boulder? http://www.pjstar.com/state/x1831799739/Return-of-The-Three-Amigos
1992-93: Randy Robinson! Just say that name in your head a few times and imagine Alan Cass shouting it over a packed crowd. Well, the Senior swingman did his part averaging 15.2 points per game and 4.7 rebounds, but a winless road record (0-10) doomed this team as the Buffs finished 10-17. We did rollup Centenary for 117 points at home in non-conference play.
1993-94: It was Mark Dean's turn to play second Fiddle to Boyce, as the Senior big man tallied 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Another tough year, despite some great individual accolades put the season record at 10-17. To cheer everyone up, Donnie Boyce earned All-Big Eight 1st team for the 2nd straight season, scored a school record 31 points in one half in a March game against Oklahoma State (finished with 46) and had his best overall season in the Gold, Black AND Silver with 22.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
1994-95: Finally our cover boy, Senior Donnie Boyce, who ended the year as CU's all-time leading scorer at 1,995 points. This was a record that stood for 13 years. Not to overdo it on Boyce, but who knows if his record would have still stood today as a broken leg against Oklahoma in the first half of Colorado's first round Big Eight tournament game ended his college career and completely changed the course of his NBA future. He only ended up playing in 30 games for the Atlanta Hawks, before having stints in the CBA, Europe and South America. It's wonderful to see the success he is having now as a high school head coach at his alma mater. Proviso East, last year's Illinois state champion runner up, should easily make it downstate again this season. We even took a look at one of his star players, Sterling Brown, (Shannon's younger brother), before locking up our 2013 recruits. Brown will take his talents to SMU next season. I'm unabashed in saying not only is Donnie Boyce my favorite CU basketball player of all time, I believe he is the greatest.
1995-96: Chauncey arrives as does Ricardo Patton...sort of. Head Coach Joe Harrington resigns midseason as Patton took over in an interim role. Although, only going 4- 9 under Patton, in March he became our 16th head coach in 93 seasons. A brutal season nonetheless at 9-18, Billups not only had the school's first ever triple-double and only 6th ever in Big Eight history, but he notched 31 points in his second game, a freshman record that still stands. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2199&dat=19960117&id=aNYzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Y-kFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5276,394917
1996-97: Just a basketball and a logo? Ehhhh. Guess no one saw this coming... A 13 win turnaround, only the second CU team to win 20 games, a 12-1 home record, our first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1969, a first round win over Indiana in which Bob Knight was so upset that he walked back to the team hotel from the stadium and the Big Eight became the Big XII (Thanks, Texas and friends). This was a terrific season by all accounts, eerily similar in many aspects to last year with CU moving to a new conference (Pac-12), surprising the experts with regular season success and not only making the NCAA Tournament for the first time, in a long time, but actually winning a game and advancing to the Round of 32. Though Chauncey left after only 2 seasons, his impact is still felt with the program and it is easy to say that he has been the most successful Buff in NBA history.
1997-98: The season before I arrived in Boulder, saw many stumbles as Patton's crew fell a little short at 13-14. Kenny Price, the Junior transfer sharpshooter, led the way, but he didn't have much help. He was named Big XII newcomer of the year, but it wasn't nearly enough as we ended the season losing 5 of our last 6 games. I guess that did not detract me from applying, visiting and accepting an invitation to become a student, and I'm sure glad I did.
1998-99: I'm here and so is my first Colorado pocket schedule with countless pin holes to prove it. I had a clipboard in my dorm at Libby Hall and must have taken that schedule down and looked at when the next game was and then reattached it about a dozen times. Attending sporting events was a huge part of my college experience and now is a great link to keep me coming back and meeting with fellow alums in Boulder and various other college towns. My first game attended was an exhibition against Australia. Still have the ticket stub, obviously. As for the overall season, we had Buffs Madness, we had a winning record and we made the NIT. 2 post season tournaments in Patton's first 3 seasons. Not bad at all. Price was the man, hitting 9 3-pointers (school record) in a Big XII tournament game, as 5 players scored in double figures that season. I had no idea that I was enrolled at a football and basketball school. I mean during my years as a student, we never had a losing season. Patton actually lead the Buffs to winning campaigns in 6 (One year we were 15-15) of his first 8 seasons, including 6 straight non-losing, starting with my freshman year. Pretty damn good.
1999-2000: At 18-14, CU made postseason play for the 3rd time in 4 years (NIT) and Patton became 4th among all time winningest men's basketball coaches in school history. Jaquay Walls, the Senior guard from Brooklyn, was the clear star with many epic performances, none greater than when we came from behind to defeat Iowa State in overtime 102-90, at the CEC. Walls scored a NCAA-record 15 points in the overtime, finishing the game with 42 points. What a game and what a great way to end the decade.
The Buffaloes looked primed to have continued success at the century turned, and the familiar names and faces that many of us think of today as fans of the program will start arriving on campus and helping us all realize that besides a couple of hiccups (36-58 under Jeff Bzdelik, but oh he was such a great recruiter and got us the much needed practice facilities...yeah, I know) we actually had a little success in the 00's. Check out Part 3 of our scroll down Pocket Schedule memory lane as the women end up sharing the covers (rightfully so) and we get a new logo!
CU next time!
Off the success of the Ralphie Report's preseason football August Blitz (Kudos to Ash), we now present a preview of this year's basketball season(s) with a retrospective of Colorado Buffaloes men's and women's basketball via pocket schedules and media guides. Images are courtesy of Matthew Robins @BupsJones (Me!), a fellow Buffalo and avid pocket schedule collector.
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