Nov. 17—With a core of returning veteran players, plus rotation locks in newcomers Cody Williams and Eddie Lampkin Jr., the Colorado men's basketball team didn't face too many personnel questions entering the season.
But head coach Tad Boyle answered one of them on opening night.
When freshman Bangot Dak entered the fray late in the Buffaloes' season-opening win against Towson, it ended the possibility of a redshirt season for the talented but raw rookie forward from Nebraska. Boyle said he left the decision to Dak, who, barring injury setbacks in the frontcourt, may not log heavy minutes this season.
That said, the versatile 6-foot-11 forward remains confident spot duty as an active player will better serve his development than a redshirt year.
"I think my presence this year can really help the team out," Dak said. "Anytime throughout the season, I feel like there's going to be a time when my chance comes up. I feel like I made the best decision for the team this year. I know we have a big goal of playing in March, and I feel like that's something I can help with. That's what really came down to this decision — just the end point for this team, where I think we could be."
Dak has played briefly in all three games so far for the 25th-ranked Buffs, who traveled to Florida on Friday ahead of a Monday date with Richmond at the Sunshine Slam in Daytona Beach (6 p.m. MT, CBS Sports Network).
Dak still is seeking his first career field goal, but he recorded his first points on a 2-for-2 trip to the free throw during the opening win against Towson. Dak grabbed his first two rebounds against Grambling State and added another board late in Tuesday's rout of Milwaukee.
Dak might be active this season, but the rookie from Lincoln still will be down the pecking order in the frontcourt rotation. Lampkin has started the past two games and has been pegged as CU's starting center since he transferred from TCU during the offseason. Freshman Assane Diop is ahead of Dak on the depth chart as the first big man off the bench.
Still, the Buffs are only three games into a 31-game regular-season slate, and with Lampkin still rounding into his peak form following offseason back surgery, additional frontcourt depth could be advantageous for CU. Although Dak will be active instead of being relegated to a developmental season, one of his biggest challenges going forward remains the goal of adding bulk to his slight 180-pound frame.
"I laid it out to him. Advantages, disadvantages to both," Boyle said. "He's a smart kid. He saw everything. He thinks he can help this team. And I think he can help this team down the road. Our guys saw what happened with KJ (Simpson) and J'Vonne Hadley last year, and so we might need BD. I was fine with it either way. I would've supported a redshirt. But I support the heck out of it now that he's playing.
"I see him in practice every day. I see how much he's improving. I see how hard he works. That's why I didn't fight him on it. I'd rather have more depth than less depth. But you've also got to think about what's best for the kid and his career."