Transfer Jackson-Wilson plays big role in 78-64 win over Denver University
Much of the talk surrounding CU’s men’s basketball team this year has been about the team’s record-setting eight freshmen on the roster. But in game one for the Buffs, a new face on the team made his presence felt.
Ohio State transfer Jermyl Jackson-Wilson made his Buff debut in grand fashion Friday night at the Coors Events Center. The sophomore from Milwaukee, Wis., paced the Buffs’ 78-64 victory over the Denver Pioneers with 14 points, two blocks, two steals and 17 rebounds.
Jackson-Wilson, who had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, came to the court in front of the 3,776 fans in attendance with solid play on the interior. CU Head Coach Ricardo Patton took notice of Jackson-Wilson’s play.
“Seventeen boards, that’s strong, especially when you consider that 11 of them came on the offensive end. That’s just going and getting the basketball,” Patton said. “If he can continue to rebound like that, then he’s going to be a heck of a player, especially when you think that he has three years to play in the program.”
Jackson-Wilson credited his hustle for grabbing so many rebounds.
“You know you got great shooters on this team, but the shots don’t always go in,” he said. “You keep moving your feet and try to anticipate where the ball is going to go. You just try to outwork your opponent.”
Jackson-Wilson’s strong effort offset a pedestrian opener for CU standout Richard Roby. Roby, who tested the draft waters last summer before eventually deciding to return to CU, scored a team-high of 20 points but shot just 8-21 from the field in addition to forcing a team-high of four turnovers.
Coach Patton alluded to a minor hand injury Roby sustained in practice to explain why his Wooden Award candidate had an off-night. However, Roby did not offer any excuses.
“I hurt two of my fingers on my shooting hand, but I can’t use that as an excuse,” Roby said. “I’ve been shooting the ball well in practice; I just got to slow down. I remember last year I struggled in the first game too. I just got to get the jitters out.”
Jitters always play a role in the first game of the season, especially for freshmen. The only freshman to start for CU was point guard Kal Bay. Bay was only the fifth freshman during Patton’s tenure as CU’s head coach to start his first collegiate game. Bay was sporadic, tallying six points and one assist in 26 minutes for CU.
Other freshmen that got significant minutes in their college opener were Jeremy Williams, Dwight Thorne and Xavier Silas. All of Patton’s freshmen did some good things and they all made some mistakes, which is what their coach expected.
“When you have eight freshmen like we have, you don’t always know what to expect,” Patton said. “Freshmen are inconsistent. They’re inconsistent going to class. They’re inconsistent cleaning their rooms. That’s just the nature of it.
“We have (to shoot better), but I know we can. It was a game we won on the defensive end. I got to admit that I was a little surprised myself by our defensive intensity. I thought our team came out and played extremely hard on the defensive end.”
Speaking to Patton’s assessment of his team’s defense were the 23 turnovers the Buffs forced. Those 23 turnovers helped offset a night that Colorado only shot 44 percent from the floor and 23 percent from behind the three-point line.
One of the key contributors for Patton and the Buffs was senior guard Dominique Coleman. Coleman had two steals and seven assists to go along with 19 points.
The senior spoke of the increased comfort level he’s playing with this season because he is able to play on the wing instead of running the point.
“Now that I’m on the wing, I just feel more comfortable in my natural position,” Coleman said. “So I always knew I could score; now I get to show you all.”
Coleman, a confident fifth-year senior from Oakland, Calif., teased Roby for missing a wide-open dunk toward the end of the first half by saying that he would have had another assist.
“That was a nice pass, too,” Coleman said. “I was upset about that.”
Coleman’s comment garnered a chuckle from Roby. Life is good when you’re 1-0.
Up Next: CU at New Mexico on Tuesday, Nov. 14