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.
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.