When Javon Ruffin has taken the court, he has been a tremendous player for the Colorado Buffaloes. However, that has been very often, thanks to a series of injuries that have befallen the redshirt sophomore.
Pat Rooney of the Boulder Daily Camara first reported that Ruffin will likely miss the 2023-24 season with a knee injury. Ruffin previously missed most of his senior year of high school and redshirted as a freshman at CU after dislocating his right kneecap.
Ruffin had a mini-breakout in 2022-23 before missing time due to another injury. The Buffs struggled to find consistent guard play until he stepped during the conference schedule. His shooting ability opened up the offense and he provided solid, all-around play to bolster a lackluster bench. That breakout lasted only a few games, however, before his season ended early.
Ruffin was expected to play a key role off the bench, if not win a starting role. The Buffs were already thin at guard and even thinner now. Tad Boyle tried to land an instant impact transfer who could offer shooting at the 2-guard, but every team is looking for that type of player and they had more NIL budget than Colorado. Missing out hurt at the time and hurts more now that Boyle will have to lean even harder on KJ Simpson, Cody Williams and Julian Hammond III. That’s a great three-guard rotation, but now everyone has to stay healthy and one of RJ Smith or Courtney Anderson has to step up a year early.
This also means the Buffs will have to play bigger lineups that might have some shooting and spacing issues. Not only was Ruffin arguably the best shooter on the team, but the lack of guards means Boyle will have to lean on bigger lineups that feature questionable shooters. Maybe Luke O’Brien finds his shot again, or the Buffs play ultimate Tad Ball with Eddie Lampkin, LOB and J’Vonne Hadley crashing the boards and Williams throwing outlet passes.
The Buffs should survive this injury, but it’s tough for Javon and puts a certain amount of stress on the rest of the team because he sures up some real weaknesses. Hopefully he’s back 100% for the 2024-25 season and Boyle figures it out without him.