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Spring recruiting heating up for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Buffs expected to add at least one graduate transfer in coming weeks

SALT LAKE CITY, UT –  MARCH 5:  Tad Boyle head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes calls in a play against the Utah Utes  during the second half of their game March 5, 2022 at the Jon M Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – MARCH 5: Tad Boyle head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes calls in a play against the Utah Utes during the second half of their game March 5, 2022 at the Jon M Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
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The spring shopping list doubled for head coach Tad Boyle and his staff last week.

The top priority on that list remains the same.

With the spring recruiting cycle about to barrel forward after the conclusion of Final Four weekend, Boyle’s flexibility for additions to Colorado men’s basketball  roster expanded last week when guard Keeshawn Barthelemy, a third-year sophomore, opted to transfer our of the program.

Already working with an open 2022-23 slot throughout this past season, Boyle now has two roster spots to fill in the immediate future, with more juggling possible down the road pending the NBA draft decision of Jabari Walker.

Expect at least one of those two open spots to be filled by a graduate transfer.

With CU currently lacking a projected senior on the 2022-23 roster, not only will a graduate transfer provide a much-needed dose of experience, but such a move would leave CU’s staff with at least one spot for a true freshman on the 2023-24 roster. Admittedly, it seems unlikely Walker will stay at CU beyond one more season, if that. But since Walker doesn’t have to make that decision official until June 1, and the threat of injury can always change the picture, a ground-up program builder like Boyle prefers to keep at least one spot open for a 2023 freshman as the summer recruiting circuit looms.

“Without a doubt. At least for one of the spots, and possibly two,” Boyle said regarding the possibility of adding a graduate transfer. “You try to get the best player you can for what your team needs. But, you also have to keep your roster management for next year in place. And we need at least one (freshman) in 2023.

“One grad transfer, and then best player. We probably need somebody in the front court just as insurance for Jabari. We need somebody who’s capable to come in, if Jabari doesn’t come back, and help us and maybe play some minutes immediately. If Jabari doesn’t come back, we lose our top three scorers and our top rebounder. It’s something we’ve got to really consider as we sign these guys.”

Walker’s decision notwithstanding, the Buffs of 2022-23 are set to feature at least four new players in the two spring additions, plus incoming freshmen Joe Hurlburt and RJ Smith. Per his social media accounts, Zayden High, a 6-foot-9, 2023 forward out of Spring Branch, Tex., was offered a scholarship by the Buffs last week.

“Joe Hurlburt and RJ Smith are two really talented freshmen coming in,” Boyle said. “And we’ve got some room now to add one or two more players, depending on who’s available and who we can get. We’re looking at the marketplace daily, talking to kids and families. It’s just the nature of spring recruiting now.

“There’s a lot of good players that are out there that are available. We’ve just got to find the right kid, the right fit. And we’re well on our way to doing that. That’s why we’re so interested in versatility on our roster. Except for maybe your five man. Lawson Lovering is going to be a five-man for us. That’s not going to change. But everybody else that’s on our roster can play multiple positions both offensively and defensively.”

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