The Big 12 Coaches’ Poll was released Monday, and Colorado was picked to finish last in the conference. Head coach Ricardo Patton said the poll “was interesting.” With seven scholarship freshmen on the roster, perhaps it’s not a big surprise CU is at the bottom. Patton noted that the Big 12 is a conference where it’s tough for freshmen to find success early. “But I think we’ve got some pretty special freshmen,” he added.
“I think it’s something, hopefully, these guys will use as motivation and realize we’ve got a lot to prove,” he said.
Jermyl Jackson-Wilson isn’t a freshman, but he’ll soon be playing his first time in a CU uniform after he redshirted last season following his transfer to Boulder from Ohio State. Jackson-Wilson said word of being picked last had circulated among the players.
“Seeing that just makes me want to go out and play right now,” Jackson-Wilson said.
As for himself, Patton took the snub in stride.
“At this point in the season nobody really knows how it’s all going to shake out. I don’t think we were picked to finish fifth last year,” Patton said wryly, as the Buffs were picked to finish ninth in October, but finished fifth in March. “The year we finished second we weren’t picked second. The year we finished fourth, we weren’t picked fourth."
For the complete Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll, see: Preseason Poll
• Colorado opens play with an exhibition game Nov. 2 vs. the Basketball Travelers at Coors. With all the new faces on the roster, Patton said coaches are using practice time for more teaching than early last season.
“This time last year, these new guys were in high school. Some of them, it almost appears that they’ve never ran a play before,” Patton quipped.
Being serious, Patton said practices have gone well since the team began them on Friday.
“Guys are really working hard and competing,” he said. “We’ve had some good practices. Long practices because of the nature of how soon things are going to start here next month.”
• Fans at Coors Events Center this season will notice some changes. The floor has been painted and some graphics added. The CU men’s team will now sit on what used to be the visitors’ bench, closest to the locker room. Bleachers will be placed in that end of the floor, likely for students. The pep band is having auditions soon, and once it’s formed, officials will decide where it will be placed. It could be in the same area it has been, or it could be moved elsewhere, even to the opposite end of the court.
Patton said the changes don’t affect him as a coach, but if the fans are OK with it, he’s OK with it.