It’s no surprise that DU needs a big man. DU currently has only one available scholarship for the 2016-2017 season.
As the recruiting coordinator for CU basketball, Rodney Billups broadsided DU’s plans by landing a Pioneer target, 7’0″ Dallas Walton from Arvada West. Walton made a verbal commitment to CU shortly before Billups accepted the DU head coaching role.
As with all recruiters, Billups likely developed a pipeline of high school prospects that he developed over the years. It would be reasonable to assume that some of Billups’ high school seniors at CU would be looking at other programs once all the open scholarships are filled at CU. That would leave the DU program as a possible landing spot.
However, recently (3/30/16) it was announced that two additional players are transferring from the CU program – junior Tre’Shaun Fletcher and sophomore Kenan Guzonjic. This opens up two more scholarships for the Buffs. In a Denver Post article, Tad Boyle Targeting Big Man, Coach Boyle is actively looking to fill at least one of these spots with another big man.
“We’re definitely going to go after another big. Without a doubt,” Boyle said. “We’ll get the best available player we can get. I’d look at a transfer. We’re not going to rush into anything. We’re going to be judicious and prudent in using these scholarships. We’re definitely going to try and sign another big here late.”
These exits could impact DU’s recruiting options if the big men come off Billups old list of prospects and fill CU’s open spots. It is possible that Boyle and Billups have a handshake agreement that Billups will leave active CU recruits off the DU target list.
Or, could either of the two CU transfers be coming to Denver? According to the Denver Post, they left on ‘good terms’ – so that is a possibility.
In another Denver Post article, Fletcher, Guzonjic leaving Buffs’ program, writer Pat Rooney profiles the two exiting CU players:
Fletcher, a junior this year, played in all 34 games for the Buffs this season and appeared in 88 over his three years with CU. Alternating in the starting lineup for much of the season with George King and Josh Fortune, Fletcher averaged a career-high 7.1 points while shooting .347 (35-for-101) from 3-point range. Although he logged 14 starts, Fletcher did see his playing time decrease as the season wore on. Fletcher played at least 20 minutes in 14 of CU’s first 24 games, but did so only once over the final 10 games. DU could only get a year of play so he may not be the best option.
Guzonjic, a forward from Bosnia, never got on track after arriving last fall on the heels of knee surgery, which also left him behind the pace in his conditioning. Guzonjic appeared off the bench in six of the first seven games of the season but finished with just 13 games played overall. He made 7-of-19 shots while recording six turnovers and nine personal fouls in 53 minutes. If he is a Billups recruit, he may be an option for the Pioneers.
Still, DU may not benefit immediately from their services. NCAA Transfer Rules are complex and they likely would not see the floor until the 2017-2018 season.
Dan Ficke , DU’s recruiting coordinator under Joe Scott, who was recently retained by DU, may have some big men on his list who have not committed yet or who are willing to switch commitments as well. Or, DU may go another direction and target another floor position.
We’ll know more April 13th – the opening of the spring signing period. This will be Billups first chance to put his stamp on the DU roster for 2016-2017.