People are starting to take notice of Colorado Buffaloes' G Alec Burks. Burks is the only true freshman in the nation to score in double digits every game this year. Today, the #12th ranked Kansas St. Wildcats come to town to face Burks and the Colorado Buffaloes, a school that Alec almost committed to but stuck with the Buffs instead. In his first sixteen games, Burks has averaged 16.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg. The 5.1 rebounds per game leads the team and his 16.6 points per is second behind Cory Higgins. Not too shabby from a freshman. Still, for Burks and the Buffs to reach it's potential and make some noise in the Big 12, Colorado will need to get help from players like C Shaun Harris-Tunks, F Marcus Relphorde and F Austin Dufault in the middle. Colorado ranks 296th in rebound margin at -4.3 per game. Fortunately, the Buffs rank 19th in field goal percentage at 49.0% per game which offsets some of the rebounding issues.
Alec Burks 6-6 185 SG Colorado Fr.
A virtual unknown coming out of high school, Colorado's Alec Burks did not appear in anyone's top 100 recruiting rankings (Rivals, Scout, etc.). Burks grew 2 inches between his senior year of high school and now, and is quickly emerging as one of the top freshmen prospects in the nation. He's averaging 16.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 1.9 apg. He made scouts take note of him early in the year at the Maui Invitational. Since then he has continued to improve to the point where scouts feel he can be a lottery pick in next year's draft. Maybe most impressive for a freshman is his mental preparation and approach to the game. He's been a model of consistency scoring in double figures in every game he has played. He shows proficiency in every aspect of the game with tremendous ball handling ability and a smooth shooting stroke. He's still got work to do on his game and in particular, his body, but his frame shows a lot of potential for improvement. Also in need of work is his range and outside shooting (27% from 3). But shooting is the easiest area to improve on and he shows the touch to ultimately be an excellent shooter. For a player considered to be the 33rd best shooting guard in the country (by Scout) coming into college, Burks has come a long way in a short time. A hidden gem in Boulder, Colorado.
2011 Mock Draft | NBADraft.net
NBADraft.net has Burks as the 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Colorado freshman sensation Alec Burks expects today's game against Kansas State to feel a bit strange. Burks, who is from suburban Kansas City, Mo., got to know the Wildcats coaches and several players during a recruiting trip to Manhattan, Kan. "It was a real hard decision (between Colorado and KSU)," Burks said this week. "I was probably a day away from going there. My mom wanted me to stay close to home. But I came out (to Boulder) for my visit and loved it so much."
At Kansas State, most of the campus sports chatter is already centered on Monday, when ESPN cameras and the No. 1-ranked Texas Longhorns come to town. "There’s so much hype on this Big Monday game that freshmen and other people in our locker room can look past Colorado and think, well, it’s Colorado, blah, blah, blah," K-State junior guard Jacob Pullen said. "You can’t do that. They’re a good team."
This season, the Buffaloes are playing at a much faster pace than past teams under coach Jeff Bzdelik. Colorado ranked 272nd in the nation last season in scoring offense, averaging just 62.9 points per game. Through 16 games this season, the Buffaloes rank 55th nationally, averaging 77.1 points per contest, while their field goal percentage is up nearly three percent.
K-State (14-2, 1-1) has beaten Colorado seven straight times, including three in a row at the Coors Center, but it has seldom been easy. Take the lack of atmosphere - "It can lull you to sleep," Pullen said - the Buffs' unorthodox four-guard offense and the upgrade in talent over last year and the Wildcats are wary. "They're difficult," said K-State coach Frank Martin, whose Wildcats are coming off an impressive victory of their own Tuesday, an 88-65 blowout of Texas A&M. "They have as good an offensive starting five as anyone in our league as far as skill at all five spots.
Colorado has a chance to be competitive against Kansas State if it continues to take care of the ball. The Buffaloes committed a season-low five turnovers against Baylor, but averaged 20.5 in two losses to the Wildcats last season.
Alec Burks is the only true freshman in the country to score in double digits every game this season. Alec Burks' last five games lead CU in 18.0 ppg., 6.6 rpg., .788 FT%, four blocks - all team highs. His .508 FG% (30-of-59) is second to Marcus Relphorde's 52.1 percent (30-of-59).
STEPPING UP: Ever since going scoreless at Tulsa, junior Marcus Relphorde has dominated the stat sheet. Over his last three games: 18.3 ppg., 5.0 rpg. and .594 from the field (19-of-32). His 19 field goals is tied with Alec Burks, however his six treys lead the team.
ONE STREAK DOWN: The Buffaloes ended a nine-game losing streak to nationally ranked opponents by beating No. 22/24 Baylor last Tuesday, 78-71 in Boulder. It's the first win against a ranked opponent dating back to the 2006-07 season when they defeated No. 12/14 Oklahoma State, 89-77 (Feb. 3, 2007).
Kansas State will pose many problems for CU’s defense. The Wildcats have topped 80 points in 12 of their 16 games, and guard Denis Clemente has scored in double digits in all but two. He had 14 in Tuesday’s 23-point defeat of Texas A&M.
The CU men's basketball program has never defeated ranked opponents in back-to-back games. "Right after the win we had to start getting ready for Kansas State," said Cory Higgins, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half against the Bears. "You don't want to celebrate too much and act like it's a one-time thing." The Buffs (10-6, 1-1) are looking to improve to 10-0 atthe Coors Events Center for the first time since the building opened for the 1979-80 season.
When playing at home this season, Big 12 teams have combined to go 114-4. Three of those losses came Wednesday night. Two were expected, as No. 1 Texas defeated Iowa State and No. 3 Kansas won at Nebraska.
Once again, Colorado’s 6-foot-11 freshman center Shane Harris-Tunks will be in the starting lineup Saturday for CU’s 2 p.m. home game against 13th-ranked Kansas State, Buffaloes coach Jeff Bzdelik said. That will mark the third straight start for Harris-Tunks, an Aussie averaging 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds.
Sports Illustrated college football writer Andy Staples is out with its 2010 preseason top-25 football list, and it lists four Colorado opponents: No. 13 Oklahoma (Oct. 30 in Norman) No. 15 Nebraska (Nov. 26 in Lincoln) No. 20 California (Sept. 11 in Berkeley) No. 22 Georgia (Oct. 2 in Boulder) In recent years, Missouri, Kansas and Texas Tech were also projected to be ranked, but not now.