The annual winter sports media day hosted by the University of Colorado might be the sort of distraction basketball coaches prefer to get through as quickly as possible. For Tad Boyle, maybe it at least offered a momentary respite from reviewing a self-described bad day at the office.
After taking Sunday and Monday off, the Buffaloes resumed preseason workouts on Tuesday morning ahead of the media day festivities. Boyle said the rust was evident.
Tuesday’s workout arrived with just over a week remaining until the Oct. 27 exhibition opener at home against Colorado Mines and three weeks ahead of the Nov. 9 season opener against Montana State. With three weeks of practices in the books already, Boyle admitted it’s the time of the preseason in which his players have to learn to power through the mental malaise.
“It’s my job, as a coach, to help them power through it,” Boyle said. “Don’t lower the standards. We’re not going to make excuses, and we’re not going to let other people make excuses for us. We’re going to call it like it is, and today’s practice was not a good one.
“Naturally speaking, there’s no doubt every team in America is fighting it right now. You talk to any basketball coach, they’re fighting it. It’s natural. But part of what we do is to fight human nature. And right now I’m fighting human nature for the next two and a half weeks, without a doubt.”
Boyle is in favor of keeping a recent wrinkle in NCAA coaching legislation on a permanent basis.
Before the 2020-21 season, the NCAA adopted a waiver that allows non-coach staff members, such as CU’s Director of Player Development Zach Ruebesam or Director of Operations Bill Cartun, an opportunity to coach on the floor during practice if one of the team’s four coaches is absent.
The rules tweak originally was intended as a safety net in case coaches were forced away due to coronavirus issues, and it was extended through this season. Boyle would like to see it become a permanent fixture, allowing for extra practice options when an assistant might be on the road recruiting.
“They extended it for a year but they haven’t changed the legislation. They need to change the legislation,” Boyle said. “(Ruebesam) wants to be a coach someday. He does a lot of administrative stuff for us. Which is important. You have to learn that. I learned that when I was in Zach’s role. But it doesn’t cost any money. All it does is help young coaches. It’s the old chicken-and-the-egg thing, but how do you get experience if nobody gives you a chance to get experience? This exemption gives (Ruebesam) a chance to get experience.”
Fill the Keg
Certainly the biggest sound bite-y moment of Tuesday’s media came from Boyle when asked about CU’s Dec. 21 home date against his alma mater, Kansas — which checked in at No. 3 when the AP preseason top 25 was announced on Monday.
Boyle recalled his feelings at seeing the sea of red at Folsom Field during the Buffs’ thrilling overtime win against Nebraska. He doesn’t want a similar takeover to hit the CU Events Center when the Jayhawks visit.
“We’re asking, and begging, and pleading, and guilting — whatever you want to say — that you don’t put them on StubHub and sell them to Jayhawk fans,” Boyle said. “Now, whether they’ll do that or not, we’ll see. One of the most embarrassing moments of my tenure here, as a college football fan, was when Nebraska had 55 percent of the stadium when we played them a few years ago. That was embarrassing to me. It was embarrassing to all of us. I don’t want that to happen with the Kansas (game).”
The old crew from the recruiting class of 2017 has mostly left the building, but they haven’t at all left the orbit of forward Evan Battey.
A fifth-year senior, Battey said he maintains a constant text conversation with Tyler Bey, D’Shawn Schwartz, and McKinley Wright IV, and the former Buffs are hearing all about the talented newcomers.
“It’s pretty much every day,” Battey said. “We have multiple group chats, so we’re still in touch. They’ve seen (the new players). McKinley saw it when he came back for the first (football) game day. We’re excited.”