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bsn BSN: Tad Boyle Welcomes Guard Development, New Recruits

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, May 27, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    With the previous season now firmly in the rear view, so much focus on the Colorado men’s basketball program has turned to a trio of returning guards and a pair of preps who’ve turned heads on the recruiting trail.

    Yes, it is early in the offseason. We are barely two months removed from Villanova defeating North Carolina in the national championship, but it is already time for Buffs fans to start looking forward.

    The reign of Josh Scott has officially ended after an early first-round exit against the always dangerous UConn Huskies, but the season should not be viewed as a failure by any means. Before last year’s season began, more question marks surrounded the team than answers, but by the end of the season, the switch had mostly been flipped.

    George King exceeded expectations, Wes Gordon and Tory Miller played much better basketball with consistency as the season progressed, and Josh Scott entertained a jam-packed Coors Events Center against Arizona with an unforgettable performance one last time. But as the Buffs allowed teams to crawl back into games and eventually collapse, fans found themselves watching a recurring theme. More often than not, the Buffs were outplayed by opposing guards.

    In Colorado’s final game of the 2015-2016 season, Daniel Hamilton and Rodney Purvis controlled the tempo and dominated play on both ends of the court, leading the Huskies to the victory and Colorado to their offseason. Xavier Talton, Josh Fortune, Dom Collier and Thomas Akyazili had no answers for Hamilton and Purvis defensively, and that was entirely why the Buffs fell short. The Buffs were bigger and stronger than the Huskies and the game plan was to simply outmuscle the Huskies, but the Huskies guards were far better than the Buffs. That familiar refrain clouded what should have been an encouraging and enjoyable—if not surprising—bounce back season from head coach Tad Boyle’s program.

    Thus, here we sit today.

    Xavier Talton has graduated with Josh Scott, while Josh Fortune is, perhaps, the streakiest shooter on the team. Dom Collier has not taken his game to the next level thus far as many fans hoped he would and Thomas Akyazili is still learning the nuances of basketball at this level. Of the three guards returning from last year’s roster, Akyazili could have the most potential. Coming from overseas, it is no easy task to instantly mesh with Division 1 basketball in America, but Akyazili was ultimately a pleasant surprise. He never really established himself offensively, but at least began to establish his identity in Boulder with his tenacity.

    Heading into next season, Collier is still a junior and Akyazili only a sophomore, but Boyle went hot on the recruiting trail this past year and was able to reel in Bryce Peters and Deleon Brown to Boulder. Peters and Brown are shooting guards that are both capable of playing the point and both bring much-needed versatility to the Colorado backcourt.

    “As I look at our point guard position, you have Dominique Collier and Thomas Akyazili, both guys that are capable. But we also have Deleon Brown and Bryce Peters coming in that are both capable guys that can run the point.” said Boyle. “They are not necessarily true point guards. I would categorize them as combo guys, they can play the point but they can also get off ball because they can shoot the ball well enough.”

    Combo guards with the ability to compliment each other may allow Boyle to sleep a little better at night. However, offense is only half of the story. What Boyle really needs is perimeter defense.

    Boyle has challenged both Brown and Peters, publicly.

    “As I have said this during the season, I said this after the season and I will say it now, this team never had a perimeter defensive stopper all year long, it never emerged. If I’m Deleon Brown or Bryce Peters, I am coming in and saying, ‘I am going to guard and I am going to guard anybody and everybody I can,’ because if they do that they will have a chance to bypass some players in our program in terms of playing time,” he said.

    Coming from Boyle, it’s a blessing and a challenge at the same time. It is entirely a challenge to Akyazili, Collier and Fortune to step up their game, and a blessing for Brown and Peters to come in and do everything they possibly can to improve this team—not to mention, their own fortunes of early playing time in their college career. Rated as a 3-star prospect by Rivals.com, but also inside the Rivals150 prospects nationally at 139th, Peters is the gem of Colorado’s recruiting class. Brown is also rated as a 3-star prospect by Rivals, but is not rated inside the Top-150 prospects nationally. Watching the game film, the scary part is how similar these two players are on the basketball court.

    Peters stands at 6-foot-4, weighs 180 pounds and, as mentioned earlier, can play both shooting guard and the point. Brown is listed at 6-foot-4 as well, weighs 175 pounds and also can play both positions. Compare these two highlight reels of their high school and prep-ball careers and it is easy to see why the Buffs recruited both of them so heavily.

    Brown seems to have a little more burst off the dribble, but Peters matches him with his excellent mid-range game. Peters was more heavily recruited, but you can see how well these two guys will be able to compliment each other on the court. Both are larger than Dom Collier and have a much more developed offensive skill set than Akyazili. Peters demonstrated his clutch-shooting ability in big moments during his junior and senior years in high school, while Brown spent an extra season refining his skills in prep-ball after graduating high school at just 17 years old.

    Nonetheless, these two young men are still very young and could potentially have a big learning curve once they arrive in Boulder. The best that Buffs fans can hope for is that both Brown and Peters will exceed expectations and quickly rise up the depth charts, and while that may be a bit of stretch, it very well could happen. Both Peters and Brown know that this team needs complete play from their guards, including good offense from all over the floor and a true defensive perimeter stopper.

    For them, it is time to rise to the occasion, because opportunity is knocking on the door.

    Matan Halzel
    Continue reading...

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