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QB Drew Carter starts taking reps with CU Buffs men’s basketball

Backup with Buffs football also was touted hoops prospect

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During the scout section of practice on Friday, the Colorado scout squad executed a few slick alley-oops against the starters.

That’s what happens when you have two accomplished quarterbacks manning the back court. One of them was freshman guard Julian Hammond III, who was a standout quarterback at Cherry Creek High School. The other was Drew Carter.

A long-rumored addition to the CU men’s basketball team has become official, as CU’s true freshman backup quarterback has begun practicing with head coach Tad Boyle’s basketball program. In addition to his prowess on the gridiron, Carter was a Division I prospect in basketball at Tigard High in Oregon.

“He’s been with us two days,” Boyle said. “Karl (Dorrell) and I had some conversations, and it’s something Drew really wanted to try when he got here. We’ll kind of get a feel, let him get his feet wet in the program. He’s coming in brand new. It’s a clean slate. I’m going to give it a couple weeks and sit down with Drew and see where things are at. I think it’s just kind of a let’s try it and see how it goes.”

Carter’s status as a scholarship player in football remains unchanged, and he is considered a walk-on with the basketball program. Assuming Carter is in uniform for Saturday’s home date against No. 13 Tennessee, or shortly thereafter, he will be the first CU athlete to suit up for both football and basketball since Ernest Renfroe, who played four seasons of basketball between 1997-98 and 2000-01 and also spent one season with the football team.

Former CU football All-American Alfred Williams is perhaps the most famous football-basketball dual athlete in modern Buffs history. Months before helping to lead the Buffs to their 1990 national championship, Williams (one game) and football teammate Ronnie Woolfork (four games) suited up for the 1989-90 basketball team.

Carter experienced a frustrating first season with the Buffaloes’ 4-8 football team, as Dorrell and his staff did not give their backup any meaningful game experience while still inserting him in enough games to burn a season of eligibility. Football players can play up to four games and still retain their eligibility for that season, but Carter appeared in six games for the Buffs, most of which didn’t offer him any opportunity beyond simply taking a few snaps.

Carter’s most extensive playing time came during a 30-0 loss at home against Minnesota in the third week of the season. He came off the bench to go 4-for-8 for 27 yards, adding nine rushing yards on two carries, but in three of Carter’s six appearances he didn’t throw a pass or make a rushing attempt. Carter burned one game when Dorrell put him in just to handle the kneel-downs at the end of a shutout win at home against Arizona. He burned another after entering the huddle with 40 seconds left at Oregon only to handle two handoffs.

Boyle said “I don’t know the answer to that” when asked what will happen if the end of the basketball season overlaps with the start of spring football, but that collision may not occur. Last spring, Dorrell started his first set of spring drills at CU in late March. If Dorrell keeps a similar calendar this year, the basketball season already will be done barring an extended postseason run.

In the meantime, a Buffs team that lost a backcourt spot with Mason Faulkner’s midsummer defection to Louisville has at least momentarily filled that gap with a player who just as readily could have committed to a Power 5 basketball program instead of football.

“Drew is here on a football scholarship. He’s not here on a basketball scholarship,” Boyle said. “But it’s great to have him out there. He’s a live body. He’s strong. He’s got fresh legs. He’s a good addition, especially to our scout team. He gives a level of athleticism and fitness and physicality that we don’t have right now on the team.

“It’s been good so far. It’s been two days. We’ll kind of re-address it here as we get through finals and see where we’re at.”