The Colorado Buffaloes have received all kinds of hype going into the 2023 college basketball season. Picking up a top ten recruit like Cody Williams and returning your best two players in Tristan da Silva and KJ Simpson warrants a lot of that excitement.
However, maybe the most important addition to the Buffs has been brushed over by many. Head coach Tad Boyle tapped into the transfer portal and picked up Eddie Lampkin Jr., a senior center from TCU. Lampkin is poised to be a major piece for Colorado this season yet his addition has largely flown under the radar.
After Lawson Lovering transferred to Utah at the start of the offseason, the Buffs were left scrambling for a replacement. Tad Boyle immediately went in to the transfer portal and came back with a 6’11, 270-lbs. center to fill that hole. A two-year starter in Fort Worth, Lampkin is a college veteran who will start at the five as long as he’s healthy.
“I wanted to get a better opportunity,” said Eddie when asked about why he transferred. “For me and how my game would play, [TCU] wasn’t there for me.”
Lampkin said that Tad didn’t convince him to come to Boulder, rather that he decided independently that this was the right place for him. It’s hard to blame Eddie for thinking that way with Colorado’s wealth of talent and desperate need for a big man.
“[Tad] didn’t convince me. I told him I wanted to come here a week early.” said Lampkin.
Tad actually wasn't the one who facilitated Eddie’s transfer either. Instead, a surprising source was the person who played middle man between the parties to organize Lampkin’s arrival. That source would be none other than starting Buffs point guard KJ Simpson.
“I reached out to KJ. Me and KJ have been talking for like a whole year before this,” told Lampkin. “When they were playing, I said ‘hey I wanna come play there with y’all.’”
Eddie’s physical prowess brings a lot to the table for the Buffs. He’s very rough and physical in the paint. He says himself that the most important assets he brings to the team are his offensive rebounding and passing. His combination of physicality, skill and intelligent play is something the Buffs missed after Evan Battey graduated.
“[Eddie] brings a bully presence. I feel like that was what we were missing last year,” said KJ Simpson. “When you have a guy like [Eddie], he kind of reminds me of [Evan Battey] but even more of a bully.”
KJ hasn’t been the only one making the comparison between the former Colorado great and Lampkin. At Pac-12 Media Day, even Tad made the same comparison.
“He’s a unique player, but he’s a lot like Evan Battey in the sense that he really likes to pass the ball. We can play through him,” said Tad. “Not necessarily always at the low post, but even at the high post, and he’s a willing passer. He’s a good screen and roll guy.”
Lampkin welcomes the comparison between him and Evan too. It’s very evident that Lampkin has tremendous respect for Battey just by the way he talk about the former Colorado center. Lampkin said he is currently putting up 112 three point shots a day to try and reach Evan’s shooting ability.
“It’s a big deal to get compared to Evan,” said Lampkin. “I watched Evan play for like 48 hours straight. To be compared to him and I’ve really been watching his film, I was like ‘wow, [Tad] is already comparing me to him and I haven’t even played yet.’”
Eddie is currently fighting a back injury and finally suited up to practice with the team for the first time on Friday. While it is unsure if Eddie will return in time for the Buffs’ first game on November 6th against Towson, Colorado’s projected starter at the five is finally getting in the mix of things.
“Hopefully, that’s Gods plan,” said Eddie when asked if he’ll be able to play in CU’s season opener. “I’ll start going live this week or next week, so I’ll start getting back out there.”
Just by talking to Eddie, you can feel the confidence he exudes. Hopefully, the Buffs’ new big man will be back in time to debut at the start of the season. If not, he shouldn’t miss too much time. It looks like the Buffs finally having some stability at center after the departure of Evan Battey, which just adds to the excitement for this upcoming season.