CU played three games in three days in the Paradise Jam, culminating in a championship game against Mercer. Now, Mercer isn’t a brand name like Wake Forest, but they’re solid. They started five seniors, and they will likely win their conference and go to the dance this year. They know what they’re doing. Which makes CU’s wire-to-wire win more impressive. The Buffs are the opposite of Mercer: young, talented, and mistake-prone. But not when it counted. I watched the game for fun, but I noticed a lot of little plays I really liked, so I watched it again and took a few out to show you. Notice the different cast of characters in almost every one.
This play is one of my favorites from the game. Really shows why Tad Boyle recruited Lazar Nikolic and what he can bring to the team. It’s not often that a primary point guard can be 6’7, but Nikolic brings that versatility. He can guard 1-4 and switch onto smaller guards to post them up. Once he figures out the American game a bit, he will be lethal. This play is a little taste. He switches onto a smaller guard, then uses his height advantage to penetrate the zone where it counts. Lazar makes a great entry pass made possible by height and CU gets two easy points.
Here’s another simple play that I enjoyed. This is just classic drive-and-kick offense, but it is something that wasn’t present for most of CU’s games last year. McKinley draws the defense and makes the correct read. Get used to this happening.
Another drive and kick play. George King doesn’t make this pass last year. He takes it to the rack all the way. This is just another simple, effective basketball play that illustrates the difference between this year and last year. This team is just SMART.
Dallas Walton has improved every game he’s played, and now he looks a little less lost on defense. This play shows what he brings to the table that Tory Miller-Stewart and Lucas Siewert cannot. This is fantastic rim protection. He denies the guard the layup without fouling, then recovers quick enough on the dump-off to contest at the rim. Once Dallas figures it out, he’s going to be an anchor on defense.
I ended with a Deleon Brown GIF because I love the way he plays. He makes this play looks so simple, and he did not do this last year. His growth can be demonstrated in plays like this. No hesitation, no doubt, he just goes to the rack because he knows he can a bucket or a foul. He will be such a good role player for this team all four years he’s here.