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Colorado Basketball Recruiting: Remaining Targets

Ralphie Report looks at the home stretch for the 2017 hoops class

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If this article is confusing you a bit, don’t feel dumb. Basketball recruiting was done for about four months. After Tyler Bey, Evan Battey, and D’shawn Schwartz all signed during the early signing period for the Buffs, Colorado thought they had all their spots filled up (walk-on Alex Strating is scheduled to be put on scholarship for next year). It was the best class on-paper in CU’s history and a huge source of optimism going forward. Then one guard decided to leave. Then another. Suddenly, the Buffs had two open scholarships for next season. And Tad has aggressively tried to fill them. There may be other targets out there, but the players below have been singled out by us because they’ve been singled out by the coaching staff as priorities (except one, writer’s choice). They are as follows:

Preface: All data used from Sports-reference, the best site on the internet.

Prep Players/Junior College Players

Zach Copeland

Anytime you can get the California player of the year, especially at the junior college level, I say you pull the trigger.

Those are very impressive stats and based on those numbers alone, he could help the Buffs next year. But then you dig deeper. His tape starts with a minute of defensive highlights, then goes into passing. That shows a player with his his priorities in order. He’s extremely aggressive defensively, with great timing on his steal attempts, and easily transitions into offense. On offense, he has a smooth stroke (above 40% from three) and a crafty finishing game. His athleticism isn’t elite, but his size helps him finish over smaller, quicker defenders, and his vision keeps the defense on their toes. This kid is nails, and would step into a large role as a PG/SG tasked with making the opposing guard’s life hell.

Chris Darrington

Watching Chris Darrington play is a throwback to early 2000s NBA, in the best way possible. The baggy jersey, the baggy shorts, the unlimited confidence, and the long winding drives to the rack. He has it all. Darrington is one of the most sought-after junior college transfers in the country, racking up other high-major offers from Tennessee, Seton Hall, Nebraska, and Memphis. It’s easy to see why. He averages 20.7 points a game, as well as 5.1 assists, with a 2.2 assist to turnover ratio and a 43.1% 3 point percentage. Those are insane numbers. He has yet to narrow his list, recently saying that he was waiting until after the Final Four to set visits. If the Buffs can nab a visit, they have a great chance at landing this scorer. He would be the bulldog lead guard that so many tourney teams have.

Jermaine Jackson Jr.

The first prep player on our list (shows you what Tad needs next year), Jermaine Jackson Jr., or Captain Jack if you go by his Twitter handle, is a fun guard. Coming out of Michigan, the only knock is his height, which is a generous 5’8. Although, given that his dad is Jermaine Jackson of NBA fame, it’s not out of the question that he grows a few inches. Everything else is silky smooth. He also dominated Michigan high school basketball. Just look at these career numbers:

Disregard the height and you see a highly successful player. He knows how to finish over and around players in the lane, pests people defensively, and his stroke is rock solid. He can pull from anywhere. Jackson is down to five schools:

As the only high major on the list, the Buffs should feel good about their chances. However, Jackson’s father coaches for Detroit, so that’s one to look out for.

Malik Odingo

This might be the most intriguing name on this list. CU has been recruiting Odingo for a while, but it seemed to drop off the radar after the Buffs finished up the early signing period. Now, the Buffs are recruiting the big man again, with some impressive company:

Five different conferences represented there, with his home state of Arizona belonging to the Pac-12. All of this serves as proof that Odingo can play. At 6’10, he moves gracefully and quickly, something that’s hard to find. His offensive game is raw, but developing, but his defense shines through. As a true anchor point, he can protect the paint without fouling and use those quick feet to stay with guards off switches. Odingo is a quiet recruit, so no one quite knows where he is leaning, but Purdue’s recent success with big men make them a huge threat. If Tad managed to land this C, it would make the 2017 class unequivocally the best the school has ever signed coming out of high school.

Transfers

Now, we get to current D-1 players. They have already proved their worth at this level and now they are searching for a better opportunity. However, it’s important to look at the stats. Given that CU already has D-1 guards, it doesn’t help much to bring in players who are worse than what’s already there. This is where the benefit of extra data kicks in. I’ve made a lovely chart to determine the worth of these players on the court. Now, the stats don’t tell the whole story, but they’re better at it than me.

Transfer Comparison

Name PPG APG A/T Ratio PER (Adv) ORtg (Adv) Drtg (Adv) Conf PER (Adv) Conf Ortg (Adv) Conf Drtg (Adv)
Name PPG APG A/T Ratio PER (Adv) ORtg (Adv) Drtg (Adv) Conf PER (Adv) Conf Ortg (Adv) Conf Drtg (Adv)
Dom Collier 6 1.6 1.48 11.6 101.9 106.3 13.6 105 108.1
Deleon Brown 3.2 0.6 1.12 8.7 101 109.7 -0.7 72.3 117.1
Namon Wright* 9.6 1.3 0.7 12 96.2 106.5 11.7 94.7 112.4
Devearl Ramsey 0.8 1 6.5 4.7 98.8 106.1 6.8 109.2 102.9
Nigel Johnson 11.3 2 1.4 16.4 104.4 101 10.9 92.6 108
*Stats from 2015-16 Mizzou
All stats from last played season.

The first three are current CU players, with the last two being the transfers in question. Some things to bear in mind, an average player has an efficiency rating of 15 in the NBA, and both Brown and Ramsey have limited data to pull from, so their numbers may swing more wildly than the others. Without further ado.

Nigel Johnson

This is an exciting recent development. Nigel Johnson, one of Rutger’s top scores and defenders, has decided to graduate and transfer, granting him immediate eligibility and a bevy of schools chasing him. The latest update?

This would be huge. Just looking at his stats compared to everyone else in that table, Johnson would step in and become the #1 guard immediately. His defensive rating, especially in conference, is encouraging, and I’m sure that’s why Virginia and Colorado are two of the schools after him. His assist-to-turnover ratio, especially given the volume of minutes, is impressive. If he can average 11 and 2 as Rutgers’ point guard, he can certainly do that and more at Colorado. His defense and scoring would be a huge asset. As would his hops.

Devearl Ramsey

Alright, this is the writer’s choice portion of the article. Nothing has come out linking Ramsey and CU, though he only announced his intention to transfer from Nevada this week. A former four-star guard out of Compton, Ramsey is friends with Buff signee Evan Battey (evidenced here) and has four years to play three. Despite limited minutes, his stats tell you a few things about him. As a PG, he never turns the ball over, and his PER got better as the season went on, as did his Ortg and Drtg. While his raw stats aren’t impressive, I think his natural talent and ability would do just fine here. He is a lightning bug with an impressive stroke. His quickness off the bounce is something that hasn’t been in Boulder since Askia Booker left, and I just love his swagger.