Two years, two press conferences and two declarations for the NBA Draft. Last year it was Andre Roberson and this year it was Spencer Dinwiddie. It's been almost a week since Dinwiddie's decision and as most have already said, it was the right choice. The only reason Dinwiddie ever should have come back was if there was a setback in rehab. But as the rehab continued to go smoothly, the inevitable became more apparent. And at his press conference, he said that doctors compared his recovery to that of Adrian Peterson, so the decision certainly shouldn't be questioned.
Dinwiddie wasn't going to make some incredible leap if he returned; he wouldn't have NBA training staffs and developmental coaches working with him left and right if he returned; and, he could have suffered another injury if he returned. The list goes on and on. Returning for a final year of college rarely ever works out in the player's favor. The older you are, the more your draft stock dwindles. But enough about the decision. It has been talked about tirelessly and all that matters is that it was the right decision to make. So how will The Mayor be remembered?
Dinwiddie leaves Boulder as the best player Tad Boyle has ever coached and he'll enter the NBA with a similar chip on his shoulder that he had when he arrived as a Buffalo due to his injury. The 6-foot-6 point guard didn't get recruited heavily by any schools in Los Angeles despite growing up there and his first season as a Buff culminated perfectly at the Staples Center at the Pac-12 Tournament. It was here where he showcased his season long development to a national audience. He scored 14 points in the championship game and hit three threes in the first minutes of the game and finished a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc helping Colorado win the Pac-12 Tournament. Dinwiddie also showed his versatility immediately by starting every game in his first year at off-guard despite his natural position of point guard.
In his second season, he became the leader, point guard and most important player on the team. The Mayor throttled Colorado State in a 29-point performance and was perfect against Oregon St. with 24 points as he went 8-of-8 from the free-throw line and 6-of-6 from the field. Then came Arizona. His 21 points and seven assists led Colorado to an upset (not really) over then No. 9 Arizona. Ultimately, it became increasingly evident that Dinwiddie was one of the best players in the Pac-12 and was rewarded with All Pac-12 First Team honors. His efficiency and ability to get to the free-throw line combined with his defensive skill made him arguably the best returning player in the conference.
Dinwiddie shined this season against CSU once again, this time in Fort Collins in a hostile environment with 28 points and went a perfect 11-of-11 from the free-throw line. He followed that up with a 15-point, seven-assist performance in a victory against Kansas and 23 points and seven assists in a win against Oregon. The injury came next and although it derailed the season, it also showed how much Dinwiddie meant to the team. Colorado lacked the ability to beat any elite teams after they lost him for the season.
As Dinwiddie embarks on his journey to the NBA, he departs as an example of how far this Colorado program has come since Tad Boyle became the coach. He leaves Boulder having never missed the NCAA Tournament in his three years as a Buff. He will still need to go through more rehab, but the grueling parts are over. And a perfect recovery for athletes is the norm now. He won't be rushed back to whatever team drafts him and more importantly, he's still 6-foot-6, an athletic lengthy defender who can attack the hoop, and a very efficient basketball player.
He leaves Colorado with career averages of 13 points, 2.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. Each season Dinwiddie increased his offensive rating, free throw rate, free throw percentage, three-point percentage, assist rate and true shooting percentage, which leaves plenty of reason to believe that he will improve each year as a pro.
And now another enjoyable aspect of being a Dinwiddie fan comes: following him throughout the draft and the NBA. Colorado fans and alums who have watched The Mayor succeed at the Coors Event Center will have a special interest in whatever team selects him just as we do for Alec Burks in Utah and Andre Roberson in Oklahoma City. And there is no question that Dinwiddie will flourish. He's determined, confident and has too large of a chip on his shoulder to fail. The only thing left to do is watch.