Colorado’s Tad Boyle is on the verge of becoming the winningest coach in program history, and he will do it with a young squad looking to make waves in the Pac-12 and reach the NCAA Tournament.
Boyle is entering his 13th season on the Buffaloes’ bench and has amassed a 254-155 career record and five NCAA Tournament appearances. He needs eight wins to pass Sox Walseth atop the Colorado chart for coaching victories, and he goes for his first when the Buffs host UC Riverside on Monday night in Boulder.
Boyle’s roster is flush with inexperienced players but he is optimistic about the season.
“I love where our program is right now,” Boyle said recently. “We’ve had great continuity in our coaching staff. We’ve had great continuity with our players.”
Colorado has two returning starters in juniors Tristan da Silva and Nique Clifford, while KJ Simpson will build on a solid freshman season. Julian Hammond III will be counted on to provide more production in his sophomore year and big men Luke O’Brien and Lawson Lovering hope to make bigger leaps this year.
Lovering is a 7-footer whose freshman season was shortened by injury. He averaged just 1.9 rebounds last year but showed he can do more by grabbing five boards in 20 minutes in an exhibition win against Nebraska on Sunday.
The Highlanders, picked to finish fifth in the preseason Big West coaches poll, are facing a Pac-12 opponent for the second straight year — and hope for the same results. UC Riverside beat Arizona State 66-65 on the road when J.P. Moorman II made a 70-foot heave at the buzzer.
Moorman has moved on but the Highlanders have a senior guard in Zyon Pullin, who was named to the preseason All-Big West team. They also have Flynn Cameron, who scored 21 points in a 94-79 exhibition win against Cal State Dominguez Hills on Oct. 28.
Cameron is one of five players head coach Mike Magpayo has recruited from New Zealand and Australia.
“He is an outstanding recruiter, leader, and developer of student-athletes and coaches, and he does things the right way,” UC Riverside athletic director Wes Mallette said of Magpayo.
–Field Level Media