After NIT ouster, Colorado men’s basketball faces offseason uncertainties – The Denver Post

Throughout the wild ups and downs of the 2022-23 men’s basketball season, Colorado coach Tad Boyle often relayed that he has never been more excited about the future of his program.

That promising future Boyle envisions got a little bit closer on Sunday night, as the Buffaloes officially closed the book on a memorable, though frustrating, 2022-23 season with an 81-69 home loss against Utah Valley in the second round of the NIT.

When the Buffs finally return to the court next fall, it will be with a much different team. The process of figuring out exactly what some of those changes might look like will begin later this week when Boyle starts conducting his annual end-of-season, one-on-one meetings with his players.

“I’ll do it by the end of this week,” Boyle said. “I want them to talk to their families or whoever they got to talk to. But it will be this week, and next week is spring break. So they’ll have a good two weeks off. Which they need, and they should take that. But what I want to know as a coach — who’s got two feet in, who’s got two feet out, who’s got one foot in and one foot out.

“I’m not going to wait until May to figure that out. I want to figure that out now. And I want our players to be honest with me and I’m going to be honest with them. We do it every year and it’s no different this year.”

The biggest reason for Boyle’s future optimism is an incoming recruiting class highlighted by 6-foot-8 wing Cody Williams, a five-star prospect ranked as the No. 8 recruit in the 2023 class by 247Sports. The Buffs also signed Denver-based big man Assane Diop as well as 6-foot-5 Bay Area guard Courtney Anderson.

For the first time in his career, Boyle over-signed, as the Buffs on paper are set to lose only Jalen Gabbidon and Ethan Wright, both graduate transfers this season. While he has not hinted publicly how the roster mathematics will be managed, chances are Boyle wouldn’t have endeavored to over-sign without some level of confidence that at least one player will leave Boulder.

Following Sunday’s season-ending loss, junior forward Tristan da Silva said he intends to go through the NBA pre-draft routine to measure his draft prospects. Boyle said guard KJ Simpson, sidelined the final five games of the season due to mono, might do the same. Neither player is suddenly rocketing up mock drafts, but there always is a level of uncertainty in such situations until those players are back on campus.

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Another x-factor in the mix as the roster shuffling begins is the future of guard Javon Ruffin, who is headed toward his second major knee surgery, and third procedure overall, in the past two years. Ruffin missed his entire true freshman season of 2021-22 due to his troublesome knee, but returned this season to provide an occasional long-range spark off the bench. However, recurring problems twice sent him to the sideline, forcing him to miss a total of 11 games.

“The guys coming in I’m really excited about,” Boyle said. “The guys that redshirted — RJ Smith, Joe Hurlburt — I’m excited about. We’ve got a lot to look forward to in this program. The guys that are coming back made some strides this year. But we’ve got to continue to make strides.

“Now it’s time to move on. And it ends quickly. It always does. The last game is over. When it’s over, it’s over. There’s no tomorrow. We knew that. It’s time to move on.”

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