The Colorado men’s basketball team played without the rotation cutouts that the Buffaloes expected all season.
The Buffs’ roster was cut short over the summer when transfer freshman Mason Faulkner left almost as soon as he arrived, moving back to Louisville to leave CU coach Tad Boyle with only 12 players for scholarships for the 2021-22 campaign.
Soon, two Novices into the CU’s Pac 12-leading enlistment class were sidelined due to injury, with Quincy Allen injured in the hip leading to an early appointment to the red jersey season. Rookie goalkeeper Javon Ruffin, who is yet to play due to a knee injury, is getting a little closer to his red-hot title with each passing week.
With these staffing issues as a backdrop long before CU suffered its recent COVID setbacks, it’s easy to wonder how some of the past year’s veterans have had success rotating the Buffs’ new looks. Here’s how those once-familiar faces, and all the other ex-amateurs who still play college basketball, are going so far into the 2021-22 season.
De Shaun Schwartz, George Mason
Schwartz has started all 12 games for the Patriots and head coach Kim English, a former CU assistant. Schwartz bests George Mason with 34.3 minutes per game, which is far more than his CU high of 28.8 minutes per game when he was a sophomore in 2018-19. The Colorado Springs native averages 14.6 points per game as he fires .451 off the field, also his best career mark to date. Schwartz shoots .373 on the 3rd throw and 14 for 16 at the free throw line. He also scores a career high average of 5.0 rebounds. The Patriots will play a scheduled game on the fly at No. 6 Kansas on Saturday.
Dallas Walton, Wake Forest
Demon Deacons were a pleasant surprise at ACC, with appendix 7 from Arvada playing a major role. Walton started all 13 of Wake Forest’s games, averaging 8.0 points and 5.4 rebounds. He also has a new level of playing time in his new home, averaging 25.1 minutes in his career (Walton’s highest mark in CU was 18.6 minutes per game in 2017-18). Although Walton is only 5 for 23 three-pointers (.217), he shoots .471 overall and has 19 blocking shots led by the team. Walton has never scored more than 3.4 rebounds in CU (in 2017-18) but has 5.4 rebounds per game for the Demon Deacons.
Grea Horn, Tulsa
Horn was a major addition as a transition from the Buffs’ alumni to the Pac-12 main game and second round of the NCAA Championship last season, averaging 10.8 points and captaining 5.8 rebounds while firing .397 on 3-pointers. He also contributed to the Buffs’ free throw effort by going 48 to 53 (.906). Horn chose to return to Tulsa for his overtime eligibility season, leading the Golden Hurricanes in scoring (16.6) and rebounding (7.8). Horne again does well shooting from a 3-point range with a .417 (25 versus 60) mark.
Dylan Koontz, Northern Colorado
Now in his second season with the Bears, the former Denver East star has been lighting this season. Koontz, who moved from CU after the 2019-20 season, leads the Big Sky Conference in scoring (18.8). Kountz shoots stellar .453 on 3-shots (24 versus 53) and .500 overall. He averages 4.4 rebounds and has more assists (43) than turnovers (29) for the first time since his freshman year in CU (2018-19).
Alex Strating, Missouri S&T
Like Schwartz Walton, Strating exhausted his traditional eligibility for a full career in CU but chose to spend the additional NCAA-granted year of the 2020-21 pandemic season at Missouri S&T, a Division II program. Strating plays a major role in the Missouri S&T. He has appeared in all 10 games for the Miners, starting once, and ranks third in the team with a score of 10.3 points per game. String Missouri S&T is leading with a field goal ratio of 0.629 and gold 24 for 30 (.800) at the free throw line. 103 points is 38 more than he scored during his entire CU career.
Dillion Brown, Grand Valley State
Brown enjoyed a strong start to his CU career which was blatantly interrupted in the middle of his junior season in 2018-2019, when he was academically ineligible. Brown transferred to Grand Valley State, a Division II program in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was a dropout from kindergarten during the 2019-20 season. He played in 13 games last year (12 games), averaging 11.9 points with a .416 shooting ratio. Brown also chose to use his overtime eligibility season this year, averaging 5.9 points over the Lakers’ first 10 games.
Isaac Jessup and Owen Consci, Colorado Mesa
The former Colorado prep stars spent one year touring with the Buffs in 2020-21 before transferring to the Division II force in Grand Junction. Koonce averaged 10.0 points in 13 games with a field goal percentage of 0.537, while Jessup averaged 5.8 points in 15 games.