First Practice an Eye-Opener

The Colorado men's basketball team went through its first workout under new head coach Jeff Bzdelik on Friday. Talking to players afterward, it sounded as though the practice – closed to media – was an eye-opener.

Jeff Bzdelik worked out six of his players for two hours in the morning, and the other seven for two hours in the afternoon. Coaches are allowed two hours on-court contact with players by the NCAA this time of year.

Senior-to-be Richard Roby said it was a significantly different type of practice than what he had grown used to his first three seasons in a Colorado uniform.

"He made it clear he wants things done right and with precision," Roby said of Bzdelik. "It's not only tough physically, but it's tough mentally to be in the right spot and make sure you're doing everything perfect."

Roby said Bzdelik stopped practice if a drill or an assignment wasn't done perfectly and redirect players until they got it right.

"It was a lot of intensity, a lot of energy," said freshman center Marc Van Burck. "I liked it a lot."

Teammate Kal Bay called it "A wonderful change."

Bay, the freshman point guard, added, "He taught us so much today. The conditioning we did was within basketball. Everything we did was related to basketball. We didn't just get on the line and run. It was a lot different and I think we all appreciated it."

Bzdelik said the goal of the practice was to establish an understanding of the work ethic he'll expect. Namely, he expects the Buffs to work "hard and right."

Players also got a taste of the offense they'll run. It promises to be a different look than what CU ran for years under Ricardo Patton. It's a much more disciplined offense.

"It's going to take a while," Roby said of learning the offense. "There are a lot of different things you can do with the offense, a lot of variations. To learn all those will take a while. But by the first game next season, we should be good.

"The fans who see us play are going to see a totally different team."

• Bzdelik will be able to work with the players for two hours a week through the spring semester. Players will also work in conditioning during the week, too.

• One of the priorities in the next couple of weeks is evaluating the team's needs so they can be addressed during recruiting, which will start immediately. The Buffs have no scholarships to give currently. Bzdelik said he didn't expect any defections from the team, but he also said it's prudent to always be prepared for such a scenario. He and his assistants need to play catch up on the 2007 players still available while jumping headlong into recruiting the 2008 class who are currently high school juniors.

• Two of Bzdelik's assistants at Air Force, Kevin Reynolds and Derrick Clark, were at the practice Friday, but Bzdelik declined to comment on their status because he said no contracts with CU had yet been signed by any assistants. He said he expects that to be worked out some time next week, including the hiring of a third assistant.

• Bzdelik said he was still perfecting players' names, and that some of them were still perfecting his. In fact, a couple players asked them if they could call him Coach B, because they said they couldn't pronounce his last name. (For the record, he pronounces it Buzz-DELL-lick).

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