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Colorado Buffaloes’ talented underclassmen driving competition

Colorado’s influx of young talent is creating competition at multiple positions.

NCAA Basketball: Northern Colorado at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There are likely more unknowns than knowns for the Colorado Buffaloes this summer. Evan Battey, Eli Parquet and Jabari Walker should expect plenty of playing time but competition looms for the rest of the team.

Although several months still separate Colorado from its first official game, we recently got a quick preview of that competition during a few open practices at Sox Walseth Court.

One of the more exciting freshman newcomers for the Buffs is 6-foot-7 guard/forward Quincy Allen. By merely speculating at potential depth charts, Allen’s expected versatility could help him as he competes with the likes of Luke O’Brien, Tristan da Silva and Nique Clifford.

Battey was quick to comment on Allen’s “uber” athleticism and “unreal” shot blocking abilities.

“A lot of talent there, super talented,” Battey said. “Hopefully he will keep working hard and go to the next level.”

Allen, who said he models his game after current Denver Nugget Will Barton, noted that incorporating his athleticism will be key. Defensively, he said he hopes to stay active while challenging big men looking for an easy bucket. Allen’s length could also extend a Buffs’ possession after a missed shot.

“I try to get as many putbacks as possible (and) crash the glass as much as possible,” Allen said.

Another Buffalo fighting for playing time is sophomore guard Nique Clifford. He averaged just one point per game last year in limited minutes but said he learned plenty of lessons in the process.

“Everyone knows I wasn’t playing that much last year, so getting to see things from a different perspective I was able to become more humble,” Clifford said. “It just gave me a bigger look on things and I was able to learn a lot from it.”

At 6-foot-7, Clifford said that Boyle sees him playing the one, two or three spots. Like Allen, being a versatile guy should yield more opportunities.

While Eastern Carolina transfer Mason Faulkner recovers from an ankle injury (Boyle expects him back in August or September), we got a good look at KJ Simpson. The freshman guard looked outstanding in the open practices and will give both Keeshawn Barthelemy and Faulkner plenty of pressure to earn their roles.

It could be that Lawson Lovering has the easiest route to playing the most minutes of Colorado’s freshman. If the Buffs need to defend a strong center, only Battey, Jabari Walker and now Lovering factor into that equation.

Although Lovering is still growing into his towering 7-foot frame, both Boyle and Battey commended his basketball IQ. Lovering also owns a smooth jump shot that should cause mayhem for defenders.

Regardless of who is playing where, when and why, the competition has been amicable.

“It’s competitive, but it’s a friendly competitive nature,” Allen said. “We’re going to always compete but always be friends at the end of the day.”