Spencer Dinwiddie

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Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie went pro to get better treatment for torn ACL

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Colorado’s hot start was one of the best storylines of the early college basketball regular season. The Buffaloes had lost the Pac-12’s leading rebounder in forward Andre Roberson to the 2013 NBA Draft, but Tad Boyle’s bunch still started the season 14-2, including a statement win against Kansas.

But much of that momentum was derailed on January 12th, as star junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie was diagnosed with a torn ACL and was ruled out for the rest of the season. The Buffaloes still limped into the 2014 NCAA Tournament, but they slowed down to a 9-9 finish without Dinwiddie, as Colorado was blown out in the Round of 64 by Pitt.

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With Dinwiddie going down with a season-ending injury, some expected the junior to come back for his senior season and try to help Colorado make one more run. But the 6-foot-6 guard made the decision to enter the 2014 NBA Draft despite not being able to fully work out for the NBA teams that would potentially draft him.

For Dinwiddie, the decision came down to the healing of his knee and the junior believed going pro allowed him the best chance to recover from his torn ACL.

“The deciding factor was that I get to pour all that I have into my knee,” Dinwiddie said to NBCSports.com about his NBA Draft decision. “I get to have professional-level rehab and attack it as hard as I want. There’s no summer school or anything else that’s taking away from that. Professional-level rehab, pour everything I have into it and let’s get ready [for the draft].”

Had Dinwiddie played the entire 2013-14 season, and remained healthy, there’s a realistic chance he could have been a first-round draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The California native can play both guard spots and had tremendous shooting splits (46% FG, 41% 3PT, 86% FT) during his junior year to go along with his strong natural leadership abilities.

Even though Colorado did everything Dinwiddie asked of them while he rehabbed his torn ACL, when speaking things over with his family, they came to the decision that rehabbing at the pro level would be more beneficial than staying in school. The Buffaloes helped Dinwiddie with new-age methods of attacking knee rehab like platelet-rich plasma injections and use of a hyperbaric chamber, but he still felt like professional rehab had more to offer.

“Within my family, my core unit, I [talked it over],” Dinwiddie said of his rehab. “I mean, it’s no secret: college has limitations that professional doesn’t. Just because of just the sheer dollars a pro team can spend. It’s not any knock on Colorado. They did everything possible that they could for me. They got me PRP injections at my request, they helped me get to a hyperbaric chamber when I asked, so they did everything they could. It’s just there’s a different level you can go to [with rehab].”

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The pro-level rehab has helped Dinwiddie get back on track from the knee injury as he looks to get drafted on Thursday. Dinwiddie was initially limited in his workouts for pro teams, but he’s still confident about making a full comeback as he begins his professional career.

“I started running at 11 weeks. I started shooting shortly thereafter. I’ve been doing a lot. I’ve been in the gym working hard,” Dinwiddie said. “So I hit the agility drills, the ladder. Everything is controlled. Jumping up on boxes, controlling the landing, making sure everything is safe. Whatever the [physical trainer] asks me to do. The bounce is going to be real when I get back. I’m talking about 40 [inches].”

The rehabilitation was a crucial component of Dinwiddie’s decision, but he also had a very tough choice in leaving behind a Colorado team that still has a lot of talented pieces in place for next season. The Buffaloes currently sit at No. 5 in College Basketball Talk’s preseason Pac-12 rankings.

“That was the biggest consideration and this decision is always tough because part of the reason my school loves me is because I played an unselfish brand of basketball. And a lot of times [entering the draft] is considered a selfish decision,” Dinwiddie said. “But it is my life and I have to do what is best for me. And I understand that if I go back and I raise my stock a little bit, I can make a million dollars on the front-end but at the same time, if my career goes longer on the back-end I can make that million dollars back. So give-or-take that million or two million dollars — or whatever it is — I felt like this was best for the longevity of my career and really being able to focus on my body and knee and pour everything I have into it.”

Based on that response, it’s clear that Dinwiddie is focused on the long-term aspirations of his professional basketball career. After a solid sophomore season, he also toyed with entering the NBA Draft early, but he was dissuaded in part by his parents, who didn’t believe he was mature enough to make the leap to the pros.

“I felt like I was ready — and I got the co-sign from my parents — which is something I didn’t have last year,” Dinwiddie said. “My parents felt that I had more growth to do as a man. So when my parents say, ‘do whatever makes you happy,’ and [our communication is] really kind of open, and they said [in the past], ‘we feel like you need another year of maturation,’ then that kind of opened it up for me to go. And seeing that confidence in my knee and knowing I was going to be back before the season opened it up for me to go.”

Although Dinwiddie is leaving Colorado a year early, he was still very positive about Boyle’s guidance throughout his career and the guard had nothing but positive things to say about the Buffaloes.

“I think the biggest thing Coach Boyle instilled in me was how to be a more complete leader. Not just on the court but off the court — and that’s my biggest takeaway from Coach,” Dinwiddie said. “Other than that, they just gave me guidance on what I should improve. After my freshman year, they told me to work on my body; I did that. After my sophomore year, my shooting numbers dipped. They told me that wanted me to continue to push them back up to where they were my freshman year and I did that. They were great for guidance and it takes hard work but that’s the biggest thing that Coach Boyle did for me.”

Colorado junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie enters 2014 NBA Draft

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Despite missing the final two months of the season with a torn ACL, Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie was a player expected to enter the 2014 NBA Draft. And on Thursday the Los Angeles native made it official, announcing in Boulder that he would forego his final season of college eligibility.

MOREThe list of players entering the 2014 NBA Draft

Dinwiddie averaged 14.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 17 games as a junior, and while his scoring average was higher as a sophomore (15.3 ppg) his shooting percentages were better in 2013-14. Dinwiddie shot 46.6% from the field, 41.3% from three and 87.2% from the foul line before suffering that season-ending injury at Washington on January 21.

With his size Dinwiddie can play either guard position, with the majority of his time at Colorado being spent at the point. The size and defensive ability are two assets that are expected to serve him well at the next level. Dinwiddie was projected to be a first-round draft pick prior to the injury, and the question now is just how much of an impact the knee injury will have on his prospects in the weeks leading up to the June draft.

As for Colorado and what head coach Tad Boyle will do to account for Dinwiddie’s departure, the Buffaloes won’t lack for experience on the perimeter. Askia Booker spent more time on the ball in the aftermath of Dinwiddie’s injury, and Xavier Talton moved into the starting lineup.

Colorado also returns three rising sophomores in Jaron Hopkins, Tre’Shaun Fletcher and George King, and incoming freshman point guard Dominique Collier is expected to compete for minutes upon his arrival on campus. Arizona’s the clear favorite to win the Pac-12 next season, but there are a number of teams (including Colorado) who hope to factor into the race.

Losing Dinwiddie hurts, but with Booker and forward Josh Scott among the returnees Colorado is capable of being in that mix.

Scoring options lacking in No. 21 Colorado’s loss to No. 25 UCLA

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When it was announced on Monday that point guard Spencer Dinwiddie would be lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, No. 21 Colorado had to figure out a way to account for the production lost as a result. The Buffaloes’ leader and most talented player, Dinwiddie was averaging 14.7 points and 3.8 assists per game before suffering the injury late in the first half of Colorado’s 71-54 loss at Washington.

In the immediate aftermath Colorado did not look good in Seattle, but the struggles were to be expected given the sudden nature of Dinwiddie’s injury. With three days of practice in preparation for a game at No. 25 UCLA, Colorado’s adjustment to the loss of Dinwiddie would be better judged following their game against the Bruins. And outside of Askia Booker and Josh Scott, the Buffaloes struggled mightily in their 69-56 defeat.

Booker was one of the players Colorado needed to step up with Dinwiddie no longer available, and that was in regards to his shot selection as much as it was his scoring, and against UCLA the junior took quality shots for much of the night. Booker scored 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, with Scott adding 19 on 7-for-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. However faced with a team that has as many offensive options as UCLA, Colorado needed a third scorer to step up and that didn’t happen.

Remove Booker and Scott’s numbers and the remaining Buffaloes shot 6-for-27 from the floor, with Xavier Johnson and Jaron Hopkins shooting 1-for-6 respectively. Some credit should be given to an improved UCLA defense, with the Bruins using both zone and man-to-man looks on Thursday night. But even with that being the case players have to step up and make plays, and that simply did not happen for Colorado.

Had it happened Colorado could have picked up its first win over UCLA as a member of the Pac-12, especially when taking into account Kyle Anderson’s struggles. One of the midseason favorites to win Pac-12 Player of the Year, Anderson dealt with first half foul trouble and finished the game with six points, five rebounds and five assists. Not the best night for the 6-foot-9 sophomore, but the good news for head coach Steve Alford is that other players stepped up.

Norman Powell, coming off of an 11-point night in UCLA’s win over Arizona State, scored 19 points against Colorado and accounted for four of the Bruins’ 12 steals. Joining him in double figures were Jordan Adams, who accounted for 14 points and 13 rebounds despite shooting 4-for-15 from the field, and David Wear (11 points, seven rebounds). With their most important player not at his best UCLA found production in other areas, and that would prove to be the difference on Thursday.

That’s what Colorado will need to do if they’re to remain on track for another NCAA tournament bid sans Dinwiddie. Prior to his injury Colorado could afford off nights from a Xavier Johnson of Jaron Hopkins; that isn’t the case now.

Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie will miss remainder of the season with torn ACL

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Colorado had its worst fears realized on Monday as ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman reported that junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie has a torn ACL and will have surgery to repair it on Tuesday. Dinwiddie suffered the injury during Colorado’s loss on Sunday to Washington.

This news obviously means that Dinwiddie is done for the rest of the season and this is a huge loss for No. 21 Colorado, as the Buffaloes were hoping to compete for a Pac-12 title and make a run in the NCAA Tournament.

How big is the loss of the 6-foot-6 Dinwiddie to the Buffaloes? Dinwiddie led the team in minutes, points, assists, steals, free throw percentage and three-point percentage as he averaged 14.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game in 17 games this season.

Colorado was off to a 14-3 start with Dinwiddie, who was shooting tremendous percentages from every area of the floor — 46 percent field goal, 85 percent free throw and 41 percent three-point percentage — during his junior season.

Spencer Dinwiddie’s health much bigger concern for No. 15 Colorado than Sunday’s loss

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Just seven days ago No. 15 Colorado put together an offensive performance worthy of a Pac-12 title contender, scoring 101 points in their win over then-No. 10 Oregon. Guards Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie combined for 50 points and 11 assists, proving to be too much for one of the nation’s better backcourts. With those two leading the way, Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes have the perimeter skill needed to compete not only with the best of the Pac-12 but also make some noise in the NCAA tournament as well.

However things can change due to injuries, and in Colorado’s 71-54 loss at Washington on Sunday afternoon their Pac-12 title hopes may have been dealt a major blow. With just under three minutes remaining in the first half Dinwiddie went down with a non-contact left knee injury, one that sidelined the junior for the remainder of the game and left the Buffaloes without their floor general.

Leading by three at the time and by the same margin at the half, Colorado was a shell of itself without “The Mayor,” and that’s understandable given Dinwiddie’s influence not only from a skill standpoint but also the way in which he leads the team. While it wouldn’t be wise to speculate on the severity of the injury Colorado’s second half performance illustrated the need for other leaders to emerge, most notably Booker.

Booker’s two games in the State of Washington were ones that he’ll want to forget moving forward, as he followed up a 2-for-12 outing at Washington State with an 0-for-9 afternoon on Sunday. Booker was held scoreless for the first time since the 2012 Pac-12 tournament title game, which the Buffaloes won against Arizona.

Colorado was nowhere near as fortunate this time around, with the Dinwiddie injury and Washington’s C.J. Wilcox scoring a career-high 31 points being reasons why. If Dinwiddie is sidelined for an extended amount of time Colorado needs a more consistent Booker, and that includes his not allowing offensive struggles to influence the other areas of his game.

While there is a need to acknowledge that losing your sidekick in such sudden fashion will impact the mindset of a player (and this can be said for the other Buffaloes as well), Colorado’s going to need Booker to be the leader if they’re to move forward without Dinwiddie.

Washington deserves credit for the way in which they played in the second half, with Wilcox and Andrew Andrews taking advantage of the opportunities they were able to create on the offensive end of the floor. However it’s clear that Colorado’s an entirely different team without Spencer Dinwiddie.

The question for Colorado is whether or not they’ll be able to rebound from this major personnel loss if the junior’s out for the long haul. While the Buffaloes have multiple options, it will likely be Askia Booker who determines the path they take moving forward.

Josh Scott picks up the slack in No. 15 Colorado’s overtime victory

Colorado's Josh Scott (AP Photo)
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On Sunday afternoon No. 15 Colorado picked up its best win of the season to date, beating then- No. 10 Oregon 100-91 with the guard tandem of Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie combining for 50 points and 11 assists. Those two juniors are expected to lead the way for Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes, and on most nights they do.

Wednesday’s game against Washington State in Spokane (the students are still on break, which is why the game wasn’t played in Pullman) wasn’t one of those occasions, with Booker shooting 2-for-12 from the field (13-for-14 FT) and Dinwiddie accounting for just six points and two assists after not attempting a single shot in the game’s first 20 minutes. In instances like these Colorado’s fortunate enough to have the services of one of the Pac-12’s most improved players in sophomore big man Josh Scott, and against the Cougars his play was a critical factor in the Buffaloes’ 71-70 overtime victory.

Scott accounted for 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, with 15 points and six rebounds coming in the second half and overtime. And with the guards struggling every one of those points and rebounds were needed at Spokane Arena. The Cougars were once again without the services of leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, but 24 points from Dexter Kernich-Drew and double-doubles posted by D.J. Shelton (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Royce Woolridge (ten points, 11 assists) kept Ken Bone’s team in position to pull off the upset.

But the Cougars couldn’t match the production of Scott and Xavier Johnson, who added 14 points, in the paint with the Buffaloes outscoring the Cougars 36-18 in the paint. Wednesday’s performance certainly wasn’t a pretty one for Colorado, with their starting guards struggling as mightily as they did. But in conference play, there are some nights in which teams simply have to gut out a win.

Thanks in part to Josh Scott, Colorado was able to do that and remain undefeated in Pac-12 play.