This year’s European trip could not have come at a better time for the Colorado Basketball program. They are ushering in six new freshmen to a team one year removed from a 24 win season, one in which they won the Pac 12 championship and an NCAA Tournament game. They lost three of their most efficient players in Carlon Brown, Austin Dufault and Nate Tomlinson so one of the primary purposes of this exhibition tour of Europe is to see which freshmen is ready to contribute right away.
It seems as if head coach Tad Boyle found who he was looking for.
Freshmen center Josh Scott has been the Buffs leading scorer in three of their four games so far on their trip and has easily been the most impressive newcomer. He is averaging 17 points in their four games against professional teams from France, Belgium and the Netherlands. His best game was a 24 point outburst in a 88-86 loss to Gembo BBC Borgerhout on Sunday, a game in which only freshmen and last years reserves played. Not only did he notch 24 points, the freshmen added six rebounds and one block off the bench.
His stellar play in Europe should not come as a surprise seeing how Scott is one of the highest rated prospects that the Colorado basketball program has ever signed. Coming out of nearby Monument High School, Scott was regarded as one of the best centers in the country and rated as high as No. 61 nationally by Rivals recruiting service.
The production from Scott will be a welcome addition to a Colorado front court that has lacked extensive scoring in the past, especially at the center position. CU is stocked with scorers on the perimeter but they lack a certain punch in the paint, something that Scott can help cure this season.
There’s no questioning the talent in the back court with proven returning scorers Spencer Dinwiddie, Askia Booker and their star player Andre Roberson. Dinwiddie will shift over to point guard this season while Booker will likely start after being primarily the sixth man last year. Roberson, who averaged a double-double in 2011, is expected to be a front runner for Pac 12 MVP and Pac 12 defensive player of the year.
Scott seems to be the most likely candidate of the highly regarded 2012 six-man recruiting class to contribute right away. He is a solid back-to-the-basket scorer and has a quick first step allowing him to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. Once he gets stronger and improves his outside game he’ll have the total package to be a dominant big man in the Pac 12.
With this performance during this trip in Europe he may have secured a spot in the starting five once the real season starts in November. The Buffs will have a target on their back this season as the reining conference champions so the experience they’ve gained across the pond should go a long ways to prepare them for the teams gunning for them this year.
The Buffs will be very young this season but as long as Scott and the rest of the freshmen play the way they have on this trip they should be one of the favorites to repeat as conference champions.