Throughout the 2012-13 season and the first part of the 2013-14 season, Colorado men's basketball coach Tad Boyle knew exactly who would be in his backcourt on a nightly basis.

Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie started 50 consecutive games together at the guard spots before Dinwiddie's season-ending ACL tear on Jan. 12.

Now that Dinwiddie is gone, Boyle and his staff will spend the next several months trying to rediscover a winning combination at guard.

"There is certainly going to be some questions at the guard spot that we're going to need to have answered," Boyle said.

The Buffs aren't short on options, at least.

Booker will be a senior and figures to be in the starting lineup once again. He's the only Buff to have started all 68 games over the past two seasons.

From a group that includes juniors Eli Stalzer and Xavier Talton, sophomore Jaron Hopkins and true freshman Dominique Collier, Boyle hopes Booker's complement emerges.

"We may not know where that answer is right now, but there's an answer in there somewhere," Boyle said.

Boyle doesn't get too caught up in position labels, meaning he doesn't project Booker as just a shooting guard, or Collier as just a point guard.

"I like guys that can play multiple positions and have multiple combinations," he said.

So, at any given point throughout next season, there could be a variety of different combinations on the floor, including the team's two smallest guards - the 6-foot-2, 170-pound Booker and the 6-2, 167-pound Collier - playing together.


"I'd like to be able to play Askia and Dominique together at times with a small lineup," Boyle said.

Before Dinwiddie's injury, Booker was primarily a shooting guard for the Buffs. He took on more of a point guard role - something he did in high school - after Dinwiddie went down, and wants to be CU's primary ball handler next season.

"I know Askia would like to play the point," Boyle said. "I've got no problem with that happening.

"The key is the mentality and the decision making."

Last season, Boyle saw flashes of Booker being able to excel in that role.

"I thought he had a stretch after Spencer went down where he was really good," Boyle said, referring to Booker's decision making and pass-first mentality. "But it was hit and miss outside of that stretch. It all comes back to mentality and understanding what the coaching staff wants, what the team wants, what the team needs and having that understanding. If he can be on the same page as we are, there won't be any problems."

Booker finished the season with a 1.32 assist-to-turnover ratio (116 assists, 88 turnovers). Dinwiddie and Talton were the only other players in the regular rotation with a positive ratio.

Booker had a 1.43 ratio (80 assists, 56 turnovers) after Dinwiddie's injury. It was a big improvement for Booker, who had more turnovers (129) than assists (120) during his first two seasons.

"If Askia proves that he's a good decision maker and he's getting his teammates involved in the game, I have no problem with him playing that position," Boyle said.

Booker isn't the only one that needs to display that good decision making. As Boyle often points out, the summer is all about the players improving as individuals, and the Buffs are asking all of their guards to improve their ball-handling.

As a team, the Buffs have had more turnovers than assists three years in a row. Regardless of who gets the minutes on the court, Boyle wants to see that number change.

"This summer is all about the skills improving: ball handling, passing and shooting," Boyle said. "For every player it needs to go up a notch. If that happens, we're going to be more than fine."

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