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Men's basketball notes: Finding new center at top of to-do list for CU Buffs

Apr. 25—The Colorado men's basketball team significantly bolstered its collective size with the first two acquisitions of the offseason.

Yet the Buffaloes are still looking for that key piece in the middle.

In the past week, the Buffs added 6-foot-9 Colorado Mesa forward Trevor Baskin as well as 6-foot-8 former Washington State forward Andrej Jakimovski. They join a roster already set to include 6-foot-8 Assane Diop and 6-foot-11 Bangot Dak, both freshmen this season. CU also will be welcoming 6-foot-9 freshman Sebastian Rancik next season.

Nevertheless, head coach Tad Boyle said finding a true center remains the top priority as he looks to fill two open roster spots.

"The top of the list is a big guy," Boyle said. "A big guy in the middle. Because obviously we lost Eddie (Lampkin), he was a big piece of our team this year. We've got great size now when you look at Assane, when you look at Bangot Dak. You look at Trevor and I think Andrej brings great size. So we've got really good height and length. We just don't have that physical presence down low or inside. That's what we're working on right now.

"And then after that, we'll just kind of pause and see where we go from there. It's kind of a one step at a time thing."

While the Buffs still could add a guard with one of the two open spots, loading up on size so far this offseason signals a level of backcourt confidence in rising senior point guard Julian Hammond III, as well as the talented but unproven trio of Javon Ruffin, RJ Smith and Courtney Anderson. CU also is bringing in two freshmen guards in Felix Kossaras and ThunderRidge standout Andrew Crawford.

One and done

For the first time in his 14 seasons as CU's head coach, Boyle mentored a one-and-done player in freshman Cody Williams who, as expected, announced his decision to enter this summer's NBA draft earlier this week.

Not counting Derrick White, who played three seasons at Division II UCCS before spending one season at CU ahead of his first round selection in the 2017 draft, Boyle had only one other player (Jabari Walker in 2022) get drafted after two seasons at CU. Andre Roberson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Tyler Bey all became draft picks after three seasons at CU. (Alec Burks was drafted after two seasons at CU, the last of which was Boyle's first year in 2010-11).

"I'd never been through it before. Cody obviously had never been through it before," Boyle said. "It was one of those things you kind of took day by day. I remember when we were recruiting Cody, one of the things I felt like was really important that we all understand it that we're just going to focus on the day to day improvement and not worry about the big picture stuff. Not worry about what's the next step. Not worry about what's going to happen in the spring. We knew he was a really, really talented kid who had an opportunity to possibly be an NBA player after his freshman year and be a high draft pick.

"He came in with that and he's leaving with that, which is a good thing. To me, he had a very, very good freshman year. When you look at his numbers, he was highly efficient and really good for the time he played. But it was an unfortunate year because of (the injuries) and he never got into the flow."

Notable

The Big 12 announced the schedule for its annual showcase event with the Big East, and as expected CU and the other three newcomers from the Pac-12 (Arizona, Arizona State, Utah) weren't part of the 11-game slate. The 2024-25 edition will mark the final Big 12-Big East Battle. ... Three notable Pac-12 transfers have landed at Indiana — Oumar Ballo (Arizona), Myles Rice (Washington State) and Kanaan Carlyle (Stanford).