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AllBuffs.com - Covering CU-Boulder Athletics

Ralphie Report: KJ Simpson declares for 2024 NBA Draft

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Joe Timmerman/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mr. Big Shot 2.0 is heading to the association

After three weeks of speculation, we finally know KJ Simpson’s decision. Colorado’s star point guard has decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2024 NBA Draft, he announced via Twitter on Friday afternoon.


Thank you Buff Nation pic.twitter.com/VR2j77FHkT

— KJ Simpson (@KSimpsonJr) April 12, 2024

In his three years in Boulder, Simpson has really come into his own. After a breakthrough in 2023, Simpson emerged as perhaps the nation’s most underrated point guard in the 2024 season. Simpson averaged 19.7 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, and 4.9 assists per game in the Buffs’ most recent campaign.

Stats aside, Simpson gave Colorado fans what is perhaps the greatest moment in program history when he hit a game-winner against the Florida Gators to push the Buffs into the Round of 32 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

Simpson earned the nickname “Mr. Big Shot 2.0” after his heroics in 2024, which is an extremely high honor considering what the original Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups, means to the program. There’s no doubt that Simpson has etched his name on the Mt. Rushmore of Colorado point guards and he’ll forever be remember as one of the best Buffs to ever do it.

Currently, Simpson is being mocked as a low first or high second round pick. At the time of writing this, NBA.com has Simpson mocked as going 33rd to the San Antonio Spurs.

Regardless of where KJ lands, he’ll be representing Boulder and making us proud. Thanks for all the memories and we wish you the best of luck in the NBA!

by RylandScholes
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CU At The Game: CUATG Podcast: In’s and Out’s of CU’s Spring

Spring practices have brought with them the signing of three (very) under-the-radar recruits, along with the hiring of two new coaches, with one - Warren Sapp - bringing with him some controversy ... On the field, freshmen have been turning heads - Is that a sign of promising depth? Or another rebuilding season? ... Let's find out ...

Stuart
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Ralphie Report: Reliving Colorado’s most memorable moments of the 2023-24 season

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Joe Timmerman/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Let’s revisit the highs and lows of the 2023-24 campaign.

The Colorado Buffaloes’ 2023-24 mens basketball campaign was a rollercoaster. Buffs fans experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Despite the disappointing moments, last season will be remembered as one of the most eventful in Colorado basketball history. Whether you’re reading this a few weeks after the season ended or you’re wanting to recapture some of the magic years down the line, allow me to recap the biggest moments of the season.



November 20-21: Dayton Beach Sunshine Slam

After cruising through their early non-conference schedule and demolishing the likes of Towson and Grambling State, the Buffs made their way to Daytona Beach for their first real challenge of the season.

Their first game resulted in a narrow but expected five point victory over the Richmond Spiders. Tristan da Silva and KJ Simpson combined for 38 points to lead the way. Despite the initial concern that Colorado wasn't able to handily win this game, Richmond ended up being a much better team anyone had than initially expected. That win over Richmond turned out to be Colorado’s first resume-building win of the campaign.

After besting the Spiders, the Buffs had to face Florida State in the Sunshine Slam final in a monstrosity of a game. Colorado was the better team, but the Seminoles use of physicality clearly made the Buffs uncomfortable. This led to a pretty atrocious shooting night for the Buffs and the ‘Noles were able to force the game to overtime.

During that overtime period, Colorado couldn’t find the net. a 9-0 FSU run to open the period put the nail in CU’s coffin. The Buffs had officially dropped their first game and fans were rightfully concerned that this beautiful offense would struggle against physical opponents who could disrupt the flow.

November 29: Colorado falls to #20 Colorado State in Fort Collins

Only eight days after falling to the Seminoles in Daytona Beach, the Buffs made the bus trip up to Fort Collins to face off against the 20th-ranked Colorado State Rams.

There was a lot of built-up tension heading into this game, mostly because of how heated things got when the two schools faced off on the gridiron in September. CSU saw this game as an opportunity to get back at CU for their two-overtime football loss two months prior, while the Buffs saw an opportunity to knock a ranked rival off their pedestal.

Colorado was clearly frazzled by the extremely hostile Moby Arena crowd in the first half and their played showed it. The Buffs scored only 26 first half points and were in desperate need of a lifeline.

Thankfully, that lifeline came in the form of Cody Williams going crazy in the second half. Williams’ 21 second half points led a valiant comeback effort, which ultimately fell short. The Rams bested the Buffs 88-83, stormed their home floor, talked a ridiculous amount of trash and handed the Buffs their first genuine black-eye of the year.

December 10: Colorado crushes #15 Miami at Barclays Center

The 6-2 Buffs headed to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to face off against the #15 Miami Hurricanes. By beating a Canes squad that was fresh off a Final Four appearance, Colorado would redeem their previous losses to CSU and FSU and finally prove that they’re the real deal.

Even without Cody Williams, the Buffs absolute beat down on Miami. Everything was clicking for CU. Tristan da Silva was all over the place making plays, KJ Simpson shot the lights out, Eddie Lampkin was dishing out insane passes and J’Vonne Hadley was a rebounding machine. All six of Colorado’s main rotation players finished with double-digit scoring figures on route to a 27-point victory.

Beating Miami in such a dominant fashion really helped to vindicate the hope that the fanbase had put in this year’s team and proved to be a huge confidence boost heading into conference play. It all proved a harbinger of bad things for the Hurricanes, who tumbled out of the Top 25 and looked mid in a weak ACC.

December 29-31: Pac-12 play starts and injuries begin to pile up

Right as the Buffs were about to kick off their Pac-12 slate, injuries began to hit the team hard. Both Cody Williams and Tristan da Silva suffered freak injuries in practice, meaning that Colorado would have to play their weekend slate against the Washington schools without two of their starters.

Both the Washington and Washington State games came down to the final seconds, but the Buffs managed to eke out two close wins. KJ Simpson emerged as an All-American talent that weekend, scoring 54 points in those two games. It was beginning to look like Colorado was beginning to find their stride and the sky was the limit when the team eventually reached full health.

January 4-10: The disastrous Arizona road trip

Without da Silva and Williams, who were still nursing injuries, Colorado had to make the trip to Tucson to face off against the #10 ranked Arizona Wildcats. Nobody really expected the Buffs to win this one, but getting demolished by a final score of 97-50 came as a shock to a lot of us. CU couldn’t get anything going offensively and it was just a nightmare of a game.

Right after that thorough smacking by Arizona, the Buffs headed to Tempe for what should have been an easy win over the Arizona State Sun Devils. Tristan da Silva was finally healthy enough to make it back into the starting lineup, so a commanding CU win felt imminent.

The Buffs then proceeded to allow ASU to score 27 points off of 13 turnovers, letting the Sun Devils best them by a final score of 76-73. Losing to a lowly Arizona State team was cause for concern for many Colorado fans, as considerable worry began to build within the fandom.

January 10: The Cal game

This was supposed to be Colorado’s big bounce back game. For the first time in seven games, the Buffs had all seven on their key rotation players available heading into a road matchup with the struggling Cal Golden Bears.

The first half went as expected, with Colorado dominating Cal and cruising to a 40-26 halftime lead. CU began the second half by extending their lead to 20, but everything began to fall apart.

The Buffs decided that they no longer had any interest in defending the perimeter and proceeded to allow the Bears to drill nine second half threes, completely erasing their comfortable lead. A combination of some streaking shooting from the Buffs and Cal’s three-point onslaught proved to be too much for Colorado, as they fell to Cal by a final score of 82-78.

This is loss was really bad, no other way to put it. The fanbase began to lose belief in this team and considerable concern was beginning to grow about the Buffs not even making the tournament. CU fans started bracing for the worst after losing to Cal and season expectations began to plummet.

January 13 - February 10: The mid-season injury slog.

Colorado’s injury problems only got worse, as a serious of even more freak practice accidents hit the team. J’Vonne Hadley and Cody Williams both suffered facial fractures, Williams injured his ankle, and Julian Hammond suffered a season-ending ankle injury in practice.

In their first 24 games, Colorado only played 14 with all seven of their key rotation players. The absence of those players was really felt, but the Buffs kept their season afloat. They went 5-3 in the 8 games following their loss to Cal, with those three losses coming in quadrant one games.

The Buffs did exactly enough to keep themselves within the tournament picture, but had fully exhausted their margin for error. As long as the Buffs didn’t lose to a team they shouldn’t, like let’s say UCLA at the Pauley Pavilion, things looked like they were gonna be fine.

February 15: Colorado loses to UCLA at the Pauley Pavilion

This was the exact thing that Colorado didn’t need to happen. After rock-fighting with the Bruins in an ugly game, the Buffs fell by a score of 64-60. CU couldn’t get anything going, KJ Simpson was completely shutdown and hope seemed to be completely lost.

At this point, it looked like the Buffs had probably lost their season. If they lost one more game, they’d likely end up on the wrong side of the bubble and have a date with the NIT. If the Buffs could win out and do well in the Pac-12 Tournament, MAYBE they’d make it into the Big Dance. Colorado had their work cut out for them, but it wasn’t gonna be easy.

February 17: The USC game

This was an absolute must-win game for Colorado. If they lost to a frankly bad USC team, there was no way they’d make it to the tournament. You wouldn't have been able to tell that if you watched the Buffs play in the first half, as Colorado looked awful during the first 20 minutes of play.

The Buffs turned the ball over 13 times in the first 24 minutes of play, while USC and Isiah Collier shot the lights out. USC managed to build up a sizable 16-point lead and Colorado was about 15 minutes away from losing their season.

When he was needed the absolute most, KJ Simpson went absolutely nuclear to put the Buffs back in the game. KJ began drilling his shots and the Buffs started stringing together stops. All of a sudden, Colorado was down by only 2 with :11 seconds to play. A beautiful Luke O’Brien dunk sent the game to OT and Colorado’s season remained alive (for now).

One overtime period wasn't enough to settle this one, as KJ Simpson’s 30 point performance pushed Colorado over the top in 2OT. With their backs against the wall and the season on the line, the Buffs pulled off a ridiculous comeback and kept hope alive. Could the Buffs ride the momentum and win out to close the regular season? Only time will tell...

February 24 - March 9: The Buffs win six straight to close the regular season.

That comeback win against USC was just the beginning. Colorado got HOT and crushed Utah, Cal and Stanford in their final home-stand of the season, as a pivotal Q1 matchup with the Oregon Ducks in Eugene waited on the horizon.

The game against the Ducks in Oregon was intense and close, but the Buffs managed to come away with a close 4 point victory. Beating a good team like Oregon on the road raised a lot of eyebrows around the fandom, as fans quietly started believing in this team again. The sky was the limit for the Buffs and beating the Ducks away from home really helped to reinforce that.

After thoroughly beating Oregon State in Corvallis to wrap up the regular season, Colorado entered the Pac-12 Tournament on a six-game winning streak, ready to cement their spot in March Madness.

March 14 - 16: The Pac-12 Tournament

Despite being red-hot and on a six game win-streak, the Buffs entered the Pac-12 Tournament still on the bubble. They’d need to at least win one game, maybe even two games, to make it into the Big Dance.

The three-seed Buffs faced off against the six-seed Utah Utes and absolutely dismantled them. Eddie Lampkin smoked former Buff Lawson Lovering in the low-post and provided the spark needed to cruise to an easy 72-58 victory. Colorado would now have to face off against the two-seed Washington State Cougars in the semi-finals.

While Colorado fans thought that the Buffs had done enough to lock-up their spot in the tournament ahead of the game against Wazzu, experts weren't so convinced. If the Buffs could beat the Cougs, they’d likely be dancing.

Thankfully, that’s exactly what happened. The Buffs and Cougs rock-fought for the majority of the game, but some impressive shooting from Tristan da Silva and clutch free-throws from KJ Simpson down the stretch sealed the victory for CU. After beating Wazzu in a low-scoring 58-52 battle, Colorado awaited *checks notes* Oregon (???) in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game.

Yep, that’s right. The Oregon Ducks managed to overcome the #6 ranked Arizona Wildcats due to an insane performance from guard Jackson Shelstad. The Buffs had already beat Oregon twice already this season and it looked like Colorado’s second and final Pac-12 trophy was theirs for the taking.

Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen. Oregon center N’Faly Dante demolished CU in the paint and they couldn’t do anything about it. The Buffs fell to Oregon in the title game and lost out on the coveted automatic bid that comes with winning the Pac-12. Now they’d have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday to see if they made the cut.

March 20: Colorado beats Boise State in the First Four

Colorado made the cut, but just barely. The selection committee pegged the Buffs as a 10 seed and shipped them off to Dayton, Ohio for a First Four matchup against Boise State. The winner of that game would face off against seven-seed Florida in Indianapolis. The loser’s season would be shuttered.

Right after tip-off in Dayton, we knew we were in for an ugly one. Neither team could shoot the ball consistently and KJ Simpson just wasn’t himself. When KJ faltered and couldn’t get going, Tristan da Silva stepped in to save the day. The senior from Munich dropped a game-high 20 points and hit three shots from deep, being the spark that Colorado needed to best the Broncos.

For the second time in one week, the Buffs have survived a slugfest of a defensive battle. Their 60-53 win over BSU earned them the right to face off against the Gators in Indy.

March 22: KJ Simpson’s game-winner seals the win over Florida

This was the single greatest game of the 2024 Tournament. I’m not even saying that because I’m a Buffs fans, it’s just the truth. What we witnessed in Indianapolis was an offensive masterclass from both sides (with very little defense on display).

Both the Buffs and Gators took turn racing down the floor, scoring bucket after bucket at a breakneck pace. This year’s Florida team, led by guards Walter Clayton Jr. and Zyon Pullin, was known for pushing the pace to the max and making their opponents run with them, but Colorado was up for the challenge.

About halfway through the second half, the Buffs were beginning to pull away. Some clutch threes by KJ Simpson and dominant post pay by Eddie Lampkin allowed the Buffs to run up a 13 point lead with just over four minutes to play.

They then proceeded to completely fall apart. Bad shooting, ugly turnovers and dumb fouls allowed Florida to erase Colorado’s commanding lead. Thankfully, Colorado led by three points with only 14 seconds to play. Florida would need a miracle to tie this game and force overtime.

A miracle is exactly what the Gators got, as Clayton Jr. pulled up from the logo and hit his shot, tying the game at 100 points. Colorado had just six seconds to find a way to avoid going to overtime, as Florida had all the momentum and the Buffs probably would have lost in the extra period.

Here comes Colorado basketball’s crowning jewel. With six seconds remaining, Cody Williams inbounded the ball to Simpson, who drove inside, put up a 20-foot jumper. That shot rattled off the rim six times, but found the net to secure a Buffs win. KJ’s game-winner had officially cemented him as a CU basketball legend and pushed the Buffs to the Round of 32.

March 24: Colorado season ends against Marquette

All good things must come to an end and we learned that the hard way when the Buffs faced off against the Golden Eagles. Kam Jones kept hitting three after three and Tyler Kolek’s crazy assists and swooping left-handed layups proved to be a lethal combo, as Colorado headed to halftime down 45-34.

The Buffs came back from the break with a vengeance, hitting five threes in the first five minutes of the second half to take a one point lead. That’s where everything began to fall apart for the Buffs.

Right after taking the lead, they allowed Marquette to go on an 8-0 run. They’d fight back to tie the game, but allowed the Golden Eagles to go on yet another run to pull away again. That same sequence happened another 2 times. Colorado had six opportunities to hit a shot to take a lead in the latter half of the second, but they missed all of them.

That game was within reach for the Buffs, but they ultimately couldn't get the job done. Colorado ended up falling to Marquette 81-77, ending their historic season.



What this team will likely be remembered most for is breaking the program win record with a final tally of 26 victories. The previous record was 24 wins, which the Buffs achieved in 2011 and 2012. The season will also be remembered because of KJ’s game-winner against Florida, which sent the nation into a frenzy and was perhaps the single greatest moment of the 2024 tournament.

What this team should be remembered for is their resiliency. In their 37 total games, they played only 14 with all of their top seven rotation players. Colorado faced some serious injury adversity, but they faced it head on. Some teams would have given up at that point, but Colorado fought through it and salvaged their season to give us a special March Madness run.

This was the squad’s final ride. At the time of writing this, Luke O’Brien, J’Vonne Hadley and Eddie Lampkin have entered the transfer portal. Tristan da Silva will be declaring for the NBA Draft, while Cody Williams and KJ Simpson will more than likely follow in his footsteps. This group was able to make history in their final season together, so we need to celebrate their accomplishments in Boulder for a long time.

The future of Colorado basketball is a mystery. The Buffs will be likely losing 6 of their 7 key rotation players in the offseason, but some very important pieces still remain. Bangot Dak was an absolute monster off the bench in the last month of the season and Assane Diop showed flashes of defensive greatness. If Tad can surround Dak and Diop with the proper talent, this group’s future is very bright.

Until next year, we’ve got to cling onto the great moments from this year. We’ll never forget KJ’s shot and the eight game win-streak to make the tourney. This group faced a lot of adversity, but managed to live up to the expectations in the end. We hope this that this article helped you relive your favorite moments of the 2023-24 season. We’ll see ya at the Keg next year!

by RylandScholes
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Buffzone: Travis Hunter finds new spot in versatile CU Buffs secondary

As if Travis Hunter wasn’t versatile enough, the Colorado Buffaloes are adding a bit more to his arsenal this spring.

Brian Howell
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Ralphie Report: Colorado Buffaloes honored with end-of-season awards

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Florida vs Colorado

Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

This was a season to remember for CU basketball.

The Colorado Buffaloes held their end-of-season awards banquet Wednesday night, which came with a plethora of awards for numerous players.

As one of, if not the most reliable player for the Buffs, KJ Simpson walked away with multiple accolades. Simpson was selected for the Chauncey Billups MVP Award, the most prestigious of all awards at the banquet. He also won the McKinley Wright IV Award, given to the player with the most assists, and the Best Defender Award.

Eddie Lampkin Jr. was selected for the Stephane Pell Rebounding Award, given to the player with the most rebounds. Bangot Dak took home the Most Improved Player Award, while Tristan da Silva was chosen for the Most Inspirational Award.

Da Silva and Luke O’Brien were chosen for the Tebo Family P.A.S.S. Award, which is given to players who showcase the best perseverance, attitude, success, and selflessness.

The award ceremony closed out one of the best seasons in Colorado Basketball History, where the Buffs had a record-breaking 26 wins, including a 16-1 record at home. They also shot a historic program record in three-pointers shooting .391 on the season, the sixth-best percentage in the nation.

While the future of Colorado Basketball may not be clear at the moment, there are numerous momentous achievements to be celebrated. The award ceremony was just the beginning.

by LoganStandard
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