Nov. 2—Barring any last-minute setbacks, Eddie Lampkin Jr. will make his Colorado debut Monday evening.
Exactly how many minutes Lampkin plays out of the chute remains to be seen.
The new big man for the CU men's basketball team is pain-free following offseason back surgery, but head coach Tad Boyle admitted Lampkin's conditioning remains somewhat behind the curve. As the Buffs get set for Monday's opener at home against Towson (5:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), Boyle isn't yet certain if Lampkin, a transfer from TCU, will be on a minutes count in the early stages of the season.
"We'll kind of get a feel here as we go through Friday's and Saturday's practices," Boyle said. "I'll talk to the trainers. I'll talk to Eddie. I talked to him (Tuesday) about his conditioning. He's not in tip-top shape by any means. He's not probably 100%. Although he's pain-free. And quite frankly, he missed a lot of reps. So I think mentally he's catching up as well.
"He's a smart player. He's got a good feel for the game. I expect him to play. How much, I really don't know yet."
The Buffs opened preseason practice on Sept. 25, but Lampkin didn't begin practicing until Oct. 20. The only true five-spot player on the roster, Lampkin started the bulk of the past two seasons at TCU, averaging 6.6 points and 6.1 rebounds with a .581 field goal percentage during that span. During Saturday's exhibition win against Metro State, Lampkin played 16-plus minutes off the bench, going 4-for-6 with eight points, three rebounds and a pair of steals.
"For me, it felt good. This was my first time ever putting a Colorado jersey on and I loved it already," Lampkin said following the exhibition. "The fans showed love. It wasn't no real game but people showed up. I feel like as a team we played good, and that's all that mattered. It's not about me. I've just got to show up and do my job. It's just a team thing.
Boyle said he will conduct one-on-one meetings with each player by the end of the week, in large part to make certain everyone is on the same page in terms of roles and expectations as the season tips off.
"I want to get an idea from them where they think they are in the pecking order, so to speak. I want to let them know what I see, what our staff has seen, through the (preseason)," Boyle said. "It's just to get on the same page. Roles will be defined as we progress. Because right now, we've got a lot of different guys that can do a lot of different things. So there will be some role definition discussion in there as well, just giving them my vision of where they're at. And also that a college basketball season is very fluid. Things can change. Injuries happen. So we've got to understand that and make sure we're ready mentally."
Boyle has lauded his team's competitiveness multiple times during the preseason. It's a sentiment shared by the players.
"This is one of the most competitive teams I've played on," CU guard KJ Simpson said. "Everybody has a special talent. Anybody on any given day can get going. I think that's what makes us dangerous. We have a deep, deep roster, a deep bench. It also helps us prepare for when we get deeper into the season. We've got (bench) guys who can start anywhere else. It's just going to make us a better team and it's going to make us closer. Although we are very, very competitive, but we're very close as well."