Quite a few fresh(men) faces are running around inside the Coors Event Center this season. Heralded and highly regarded, these six freshmen will carry a heavy load when they take the court this upcoming Friday against Wofford.
Expectations, from the vast majority, are extremely high for the team as a whole despite being just 6th in the Pac-12 preseason media poll. Looking back on the history of Colorado basketball, what are we going to need to see in order to consider this an impact group?
Sophomores Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker provide the perfect benchmark to compare this class against. Dinwiddie was named a member of the Pac-12 All Freshman team and Booker was one of premier 6th men in the conference last season. Here's a quick snapshot of how their freshman seasons rank all time in Colorado hoops history:
Dinwiddie: 360 points (7th), 131 rebounds (13th), 64 assists (10th), 27 steals (9th), 9 blocks
-10.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.8apg, 0.8spg, and 0.3bpg
Booker: 317 points (10th), 96 rebounds, 49 assists (15th), 26 steals (11th), 1 block
-9.1ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.4apg, 0.7spg, and 0.0bpg
The front court duo Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson are widely considered to be the two freshmen most ready to provide an immediate impact on the court for the Buffs. It would only be natural to compare them to current Buff and projected NBA draft pick Andre Roberson, who put together one of the most impressive freshman campaigns in Colorado basketball history.
Roberson is one of only five players to appear in the Top 20 in each of the 5 major statistical categories for Colorado freshman.
Neither Scott nor Johnson is as multi-faceted as Andre, but they (along with freshman defensive standout Wesley Gordon) can be expected to put up significant numbers this season.
In order to see their name in the CU record books, they will need to rack up the following stats this upcoming season:
We'll use the basic assumption that the Buffs play 31 games this season, 30 regular season games and their guaranteed one game in the Pac-12 tournament.
-254 points (8.2ppg) would place them Top 15 all time, 317 points (10.2ppg) would place them Top 10. Alec Burks sets the all-time benchmark, with 512 points (16.5ppg).
-115 rebounds (3.7rpg) would place them Top 15 all time, 143 rebounds (4.6rpg) would place them Top 10. Andre Roberson owns the record, with 297 rebounds (9.6prg).
-49 assists (1.5apg) would place them Top 15 all time, 64 assists (1.9apg) would place them Top 10. The Buffs' legend Chauncey Billups sets the standard with 143 assists (4.6apg).
-22 steals (0.7spg) would place them Top 15 all time, 27 steals (0.9spg) would place them Top 10. Donnie Boyce holds the freshmen record with 68 steals (2.2spg).
-13 blocks (0.4bpg) would place them Top 15 all time, 22 blocks (0.7bpg) would place them Top 10. Once again, Andre Roberson owns the record, with 42 blocks (1.4bpg).
These numbers highlight just how difficult it can be to produce at a high level as a freshman, but with arguably the most talented class in the history of the program, it can be expected that we will see plenty of these six names on these all-time lists after the season.
For Colorado to reach their potential, they will need some All Conference type performances from this incoming class. Here's a quick recap of the season averages for last year's Pac-12 All-Freshman team.
-Spencer Dinwiddie - 10.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.8apg, 0.8spg, and 0.3bpg
-Nick Johnson - 9.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.4apg, 0.7spg, and 0.5bpg
-David Kravish - 6.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 0.5apg, 0.3spg, and 1.2bpg
-Chasson Randle - 13.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, and 0.1bpg
-Tony Wroten - 16.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.7apg, 1.9spg, and 0.4bpg
With the Pac-12 bringing in an incredible crop of freshmen talent, it should be anticipated that this year's version of the All-Freshman team will see numbers more similar to Randle and Wroten. If Josh Scott, Xavier Johnson, and the rest of the Freshmen Six can make their case to be included in that elite group, the Colorado Buffaloes will make noise in the Pac-12, and nationally, this season.