The brain trust of the Colorado men's basketball team figured the Buffaloes would see a healthy dose of Arizona State guards Remy Martin and Luguentz Dort going into Saturday's Pac-12 battle in Tempe.
That's why Eli Parquet got the call.
With head coach Tad Boyle ready to juggle his lineup in the midst of his team's recent tailspin, Parquet's number was called upon to make his first career start against the Sun Devils, with the belief the 6-foot-3 freshman could match up against Dort while starting point guard McKinley Wright checked Martin.
Those matchups never materialized, as ASU coach Bobby Hurley threw his own curve ball by starting a bigger lineup and instead bringing Martin and Dort off the bench. Yet with the Buffs suddenly facing manpower issues in the backcourt, expect to see Parquet and fellow freshman Daylen Kountz on the floor a little more frequently as the Buffs look to shake a run of four losses in five games Thursday night at home against Washington State (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
"The whole idea was to go with defense," Boyle said. "It was all based on defense and matchups. Of course, then they start a big lineup...and we decided to start out in zone. And they did too.
"I wouldn't read too much into it. I'm not sure we have a starting five right now in terms of five guys that deserve to be out there when the ball is tipped up. But I've got to throw five out there, so I'll do it Thursday against Washington State. Our lineup right now is anything but solidified."
Parquet struggled in his first starting assignment at ASU, but with Deleon Brown out indefinitely and Namon Wright's status in limbo, he likely will take a bigger role in the Buffs' backcourt rotation for the foreseeable future.
Parquet is considered an above-par perimeter defender like Brown, whose season may be over due to academic issues. However, Parquet has yet to display the scoring and rebounding potential of Namon Wright, who missed the ASU game due to a nagging foot injury.
"Both Daylen and Eli will be thrust into bigger roles with Del's situation and Namon's foot," Boyle said. "You never know day-to-day if (Namon Wright's foot) is going hurt or not hurt, you don't know if he's going to practice or not practice, you don't know if he's going to play or not play. With that situation, and Del's, it throws both Eli and Daylen into the mix where they're going to be getting minutes. Whether they start or come off the bench doesn't matter. But they're in the rotation, and we're going to need them to play — and we're going to need everybody to play — better than they did against Arizona State."
After Parquet knocked down his only 3-point attempt in a Nov. 28 win against Portland he owned a modest-yet-impressive 4-for-7 mark on 3-pointers. Since then, however, he has gone 0-for-8 from long range, and his overall 1-for-5 mark against ASU left Parquet with a .292 field goal percentage (7-for-24) this season. Parquet also committed four turnovers in a season-high 21 minutes against ASU — one more than he was charged with during his first 11 games combined.
Still, it was a first start for a rookie who was called upon in a tough situation. And Parquet maintains confidence he can help patch the holes currently dotting the Buffs' backcourt rotation.
"(Boyle) said I was going to start because of defense, and that's what I hang my hat on," Parquet said. "I took some rough shots and I have to attack the basket more. I have to take care of the ball more. Defense and taking care of the ball — that will help out a lot."