Game day notes: CU Buffs' Tad Boyle not a fan of new NCAA recruiting calendar

Jan. 13—Another change has been enacted upon the basketball recruiting calendar. Tad Boyle isn't exactly overjoyed about it.

This week the Division I Oversight Committee, working in tandem with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, approved changes that reduce the spring evaluation period from two weekends in April to a single weekend in May after the transfer portal closes.

The crux of the change was meant to give prep recruits a more focused spotlight once the available pool of players becomes settled in the transfer portal. Yet given April has become the key period for coaching staffs to recruit transfers, Colorado's head coach is of the belief the new changes will eliminate whatever small semblance of an offseason that still existed for collegiate coaches.

"I'm just an old-school dude. To me, the staffs that do their homework during the year and watch high school basketball games and get out, I like having that period in April," Boyle said. "It used to be May was the only month as a college basketball coach had to take a vacation and spend time with your family. With the portal, with the 45-day, last year 60-day window, when these kids are all making decisions about leaving schools and going to new schools, April and May have just become a disaster as a basketball coach.

"We try to put our work in early. We'll be out during the May period. I don't know if I will. We'll have four coaches out there. I feel for the assistant coaches and their families. They don't get a break. We come back in June and we've got camps. July we've got recruiting again. August, school starts. When the hell is a coach supposed to spend time with his family? I think it's a joke. But this game is not about coaches. It's about players and kids. We've done everything — and I mean everything — to bend over backwards to cater to these kids. And I don't think that's healthy, quite frankly."

The changes are effective immediately.

Line drought

CU guard KJ Simpson ranks third in the Pac-12 Conference in free throw percentage at .867, and he goes into Saturday night's home date against USC (8 p.m., ESPN2) sixth in the league in free throw attempts per game (5.2). Getting to the line is a big part of Simpson's offensive game, as he ranks third in the league in scoring at 19.9 points per game.

However, after going 13-for-14 at the line as part of a career-high, 34-point performance against Washington State two weeks ago, Simpson went without a free throw attempt for just the second time this season in last week's loss against Arizona. It happened again on Wednesday during CU's loss at California, and, not coincidentally, Simpson produced two of his three lowest-scoring point totals of the season with 10 at Arizona and 12 at Cal. He also had 12 points against Grambling State in the second game of the season, which was his other outing without a free throw attempt.

Part of the recent free throw drought can be attributed to calls getting harder to come by on the road, as certainly there were plays at UA and Cal that could've just as easily ended with Simpson free throw attempts instead of no-calls. Yet CU's high-scoring point guard also believes he has gotten away from a few of the traits around the rim that helped lead to a fast start to his season.

Simpson didn't go without a free throw attempt in any of his 29 games last year.

"I think I just wasn't being as aggressive as I should be," Simpson said. "I didn't really attack and stay aggressive like I should have. I am attacking, and I'm getting hit, but it's a road game. I can't expect to go up thinking I'm going to get calls. I think that's why my field goal percentage has been down a little bit too. I've been going trying to expect that I'm going to get whistle instead of going up aggressive like I have been pretty much the whole season. Just have to get back to that, and I understand that."

Roll time

The come-from-ahead loss at Cal on Wednesday was a gut-punch, but it didn't eliminate CU from anything. CU enters Saturday's game 9-0 at home with the next three games at the Events Center. And if guard Julian Hammond III returns against the Trojans following a two-game injury absence, the Buffs will boast its top seven rotation players for the first time since Dec. 3 against Pepperdine, playing shorthanded for the past eight games.

Tristan da Silva, who missed three games due to an ankle injury, and Cody Williams, who missed seven with a wrist injury, both returned during CU's 0-3 road trip.

"To me, we've just got to get back on a roll. And to do that, you just have to figure out how to win the next game. And that's USC on Saturday," Boyle said. "It's good to have those guys back. I thought the way we played offensively (at Cal) was really a step in the right direction. And that's a result of having Tristan (da Silva) back and having Cody (Williams) back, without a doubt. It just is. Because the balance on this team and the ability for different guys to score in different ways on different nights is what makes this team special."

On the air

The "Buffaloes Primetime Radio Show" featuring Boyle and women's basketball coach JR Payne makes its season debut on Monday. The weekly event is open to the public at Carelli's restaurant and airs live from 7-8 p.m. on KOA 850 AM and 94.1 FM. The show also will feature player guests and runs every Monday for nine weeks through the final show on March 11.


CU forward Tristan da Silva needs four points to pass Buffs great Burdie Haldorson for 28th on the team's all-time scoring list. Haldorson passed away this past fall, and the Buffs are honoring him this season by wearing patches with Haldorson's initials on their game jerseys. ... Simpson needs six points to pass Chauncey Billups for 28th on the all-time scoring list. With 17 points, Simpson can jump from 39th all the way to 35th on the scoring list. ... USC's Joshua Morgan leads the Pac-12 with 2.3 blocked shots per game. Morgan's status for Saturday is uncertain after he missed Wednesday's loss against Washington State due to an illness. ... The duo of Dave Pasch and Bill Walton will call Saturday night's game on ESPN2.