KJ Simpson set for bigger role following Keeshawn Barthelemy’s departure

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The Colorado Buffaloes are still recovering from the bitter taste after Keeshawn Barthelemy decided to transfer to join the Oregon Ducks.

It isn’t entirely surprising that Barthelemy decided to enter the transfer portal, but his move to Eugene is a big blow and won’t help the Buffs, especially since they have to play the Ducks at least twice next season.

Nonetheless, one Buffs player expected to receive an uptick after the move is KJ Simpson, who came on strong last season.

Simpson earned Freshman of the Week honors twice during the season, and now with both Barthelemy and Elijah Parquet out of Boulder (Parquet transferred to UNLV), it might mean a massive role for Simpson, and Pat Rooney of BuffZone mentioned exactly that:

Although fellow freshman and former Cherry Creek star Julian Hammond III received the starting nod for the final five games of the 2021-22 season, it is Simpson’s potential as a play-maker that makes his first full offseason at CU a critical one for the Buffs’ fortunes in 2022-23.

Simpson finished his first year with the Buffs and averaged 7.3 PPG with 2.7 assists across 32 games and played just north of 21 minutes per contest.

Those are decent numbers for a first-year player, and another year with the system, as well as a more enhanced role, should be beneficial to both Simpson and the Buffs.

After earning a pair of Freshman of the Week honors in the Pac-12, perhaps more accolades are in Simpson’s future with more minutes available.

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