The Colorado Buffaloes had a terrific season all around, as they won 21 games and reached the NIT, all while seeing constant growth from their young players. This was always going to be a transition year from the Class of 2017 to the freshmen and sophomores we’re seeing turn into stars.
Part of the planning, at least on Tad Boyle’s part, was to let the upperclassmen move on and exercise their fifth-year redshirts elsewhere. It was a success all around, with every player who transferred (including Daylen Kountz, who left after his sophomore year) putting up career best stats while featured heavily on their new team. All the players who left are still Buffs, so we can go through and celebrate each one’s season.
Daylen Kountz had the best season of any of the transfers. The Denver native transferred to Northern Colorado and turned into a star by end of his second season there. He was a unanimous selection to the First Team All-Big Sky after leading the conference with 21.4 points per game on efficient shooting (50% from the field, 41% from three). He looked like a one-tool player at CU, but he’s expanded his game so much in the last couple years. Kountz nearly carried his team to the NCAA Tournament, but the Bears lost to Montana State in the conference title game. Hopefully he exercises his fifth year of eligibility because college basketball is better with him balling out.
Dallas Walton was a key player in Wake Forest’s resurgence, and while they looked ready to dance they have to settle a 2-seed in the NIT. Walton started every game for the Demon Deacons, played more than he has in his college career, and had career-highs in points (8.8), rebounds (4.9) and blocks (1.4) per game. He wasn’t able to reach his full potential at CU, mostly because of injuries, but it’s great to see him develop into a quality starter in the ACC. The Buffs wouldn’t face him in the NIT unless it was the final, but we can always hope for that reunion.
D’Shawn Schwartz had a great individual season at George Mason. He averaged better than 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, while offering his usual excellent team defense. He was even better in the Patriots’ big games — as I’m sure you can imagine from a player whose heroics include game-winning shots against Dayton, a probably 1-seed if the 2020 NCAA Tornament had happened, and USC, who reached the Elite Eight in 2021 — as he led victories over Maryland, Georgia and Davidson.
Unfortunately, the rest of his teammates didn’t play as well under first year head coach Kim English and assistant Nate Tomlinson, both former Buffs who should be expected to experience growing pains early in their careers. English is being rumored for the Missouri Tigers head coaching positions, where he starred for four years, but he’s probably not ready for an SEC job. Tomlinson seems destined to return to Boulder, but we can be patient as he builds experience with more responsibility.
Jeriah Horne made the most of his transfer to Tulsa, the third time he transferred in his college career (Nebraska -> Tulsa -> Colorado -> Tulsa). He the Golden Hurricanes with 16 points and 7 rebounds per game, both career highs. It wasn’t his fault that his teammates were horrendous. The team went 11-20 and head coach Frank Haith resigned. I’m guessing Haith won’t be considered for his old job at Missouri.