Colorado men’s basketball notes: Buffs getting job done on the glass – The Denver Post

Collectively, Colorado generally has enjoyed an advantage on the boards.

And yet, individually, CU men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle believes there remains plenty of room for improvement.

As the Buffs continue to work through final exams while preparing for Thursday’s home date against North Alabama (6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), the rebounding question that faced the team going into the season has perhaps been answered.

Despite losing Pac-12 leading rebounder Jabari Walker in addition to Evan Battey, the Buffs’ second-leading rebounder, CU has acquitted itself well on the glass through the season’s first 10 games. The Buffs (5-5) have outrebounded the opposition in seven of those games, and they begin the week ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in average rebounding margin at plus-5.4.

In two of the three games in which CU was outrebounded, the deficit was only a lone rebound.

Junior college transfer J’Vonne Hadley has given the Buffs a big boost on the glass, averaging 7.5 per game. Improved rebounding totals from KJ Simpson and Lawson Lovering have kept CU competitive on the boards, and Boyle still is trying to tap into the higher ceilings, rebounding-wise, from starters like Tristan da Silva and Nique Clifford.

The 6-foot-9 Da Silva is averaging 4.0 rebounds per game and has averaged 4.8 in the past five games since a November streak featuring only five total rebounds in three games. Clifford averaged 4.6 rebounds last year but has averaged only 3.8 so far this season.

“I would look at guys like Tristan and Nique,” Boyle said. “I think J’Vonne Hadley has been our most consistent rebounder. Lawson, Tristan, Nique and even Luke (O’Brien), who’s really active on the offensive glass, I want our guys to be selfish defensive rebounders and selfish offensive rebounders. That’s an area where they can really differentiate themselves.

“That’s where I feel (good) about a guy like J’Vonne Hadley. I feel like I have to have him on the floor. He competes. He plays hard. He’s not hunting his shots. He’s not looking to score. Just looking to make plays to help win games. I would say at this point, I’m relatively pleased with our rebounding. I think our defense still needs to get better, more consistent. We’re making strides. We’re close in both those areas.”

Sidelined

Boyle confirmed what has perhaps turned into the obvious by saying freshmen RJ Smith and Joe Hurlburt are unlikely to see any playing time in order to redshirt and preserve the season of eligibility.

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“I don’t want to say there’s not any scenario (in which they’d play), but the likelihood is not very good,” Boyle said. “We’ve talked to them about redshirting. That’s the plan.”

Boyle also said walk-on freshman Harrison Carrington is ticketed for a redshirt as well, similar to the approach the Buffs took last season with walk-on Amondo Miller. Miller, from Valor Christian, made his playing debut for the Buffs in the waning moments of last week’s rout of Colorado State.

Notable

In the latest AP top 25 released on Monday, Arizona moved up one spot to No. 9 after its impressive win against Indiana. UCLA moved up three spots to No. 16. Arizona State unofficially was ranked at No. 30 as the fifth team among others receiving votes, while Utah received 12 points in the vote…Thursday marks CU’s first matchup against North Alabama…CU ranks seventh in overall defensive field goal percentage (.414) and sixth in defensive 3-point percentage (.312).

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