Changing mentality

The biggest issue to cause the Colorado basketball program problems on the court over the past years has been rebounding. First-year coach Tad Boyle doesn't expect it to be nearly as big of an issue this season in Boulder.

The program lost center Shane Harris-Tunks for the season on Thursday when he suffered a season ending torn ACL in his left knee.

Boyle was expecting Harris-Tunks to make a larger contribution this year in his system than he had as a true freshman last year in former coach Jeff Bzdelik's system. Now that won't happen.

But Boyle never has believed that rebounding is big-man issue or statistic and he teaches all of his players to be involved on the boards.

"I think we just have to change our mentality, because rebounding is a mentality," Boyle said. "I think it's something that not one person is going to change. We have to do it collectively, especially on the defensive end because we've got five guys who rebound the ball.

"Then we just have to create habits offensively going to the boards. We're trying to do that here early, but it's going to be a process."

Boyle said 6-foot-7 true freshman forward Andre Roberson is an athletic and determined player who should compete for rebounds. But Roberson is also only about 200 pounds and might get knocked around a little, especially in Big 12 Conference play.

"I think Andre Roberson will help us a lot this year in terms of rebounding cause he has a nose for the ball. I think it's just going to be a daily thing that we just have to keep emphasizing."

Boyle is taking the rebounding problem seriously. Each day in practice when players fail to box out, he stops practice and forces the entire team to run a 22-second sprint that every player must finish in time.

"It's just a way of recognizing when it happens that, 'Hey, this isn't acceptable. We've got to shore this part of our game up.' What happens is after two or three of those happen during practice, then the players start getting on each other and holding each other accountable for not boxing out. Once you get that dynamic working in your team, that's the first step."

Boyle also tweaked the way he has traditionally started his offense after a defensive rebound. As an incentive to guards to play a bigger role rebounding, he is instructing players such as Alec Burks, Shannon Sharpe, Cory Higgins and Marcus Relphorde to break out with the ball, starting a fast break immediately after any of them comes down with a defensive rebound.

"When you give guys that incentive, they maybe want to go get more rebounds, rather than hang back, let somebody else get it and then run the lanes," Boyle said.


BuffStampede Top Stories