The Cody Williams era officially is underway at Colorado.
One of the most highly-anticipated recruits in the history of the CU men’s basketball program hit the floor for the first time in an official capacity on Monday as the Buffaloes went through their first preseason practice.
Ranked as the No. 4 recruit in the 2023 class by 247Sports, Williams is the highest-profile recruit to arrive at CU in decades. Williams was a full participant on Monday despite battling COVID recently.
“It’s exciting, obviously, the first day of practice,” Williams said. “We’ve been working hard all summer, so now it’s time to get ready for games. It felt good to get here on the court. I had COVID all last week and this is like my first workout.
“I’ve just got to work on the details and be an all-around better player. Right now it’s just learning the offense, learning defensive concepts. Just being aggressive on offense and defense. That’s kind of been my mentality.”
Williams had an opportunity to work with CU head coach Tad Boyle this summer, as they both were part of the USA Basketball squad that competed in the U19 World Cup in Hungary. Boyle will be charged with helping to manage the expectations for Williams, a potential future lottery pick in the NBA draft who nonetheless is diving into his first season of top-tier college basketball.
“What accelerates Cody is his mind. He’s got a great feel for the game,” Boyle said. “He’s got great instincts for the game. The only thing holding Cody back is the physicality of the game right now. That’s why the weight room has been so important for him since he’s been on campus and working with (strength) coach (Steve) Englehart. But Cody is going to be fine because he’s a smart player and he’s got a great feel. He’s got things you can’t coach.”
In the first three football seasons turned in by CU after Luke O’Brien arrived on campus, the Buffs went a combined 9-21, with a significant chunk of those wins occurring during a 4-2 campaign in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
O’Brien, a Colorado native from Littleton, says the energy injected into the entire athletic program with the arrival of head coach Deion Sanders, plus CU’s electric 3-0 start before getting humbled at Oregon, has been infectious.
“I love it,” O’Brien said. “I’ve been here for three years and obviously the football team hasn’t been great. But I love what Deion’s been doing. I love the way he preaches in his interviews, because he means everything he says. It’s motivating for me as well, even for a non-football player. I’ve been enjoying it. Hopefully that translates for the fans coming to the Events Center and packing this out, because we’re going to be just as good and I feel like we have just as much hype.”
The Buffs are expected to soon announce the details of a preseason exhibition at home, likely against one of the regional Division II teams. CU also will host Texas in a closed scrimmage. … There were a couple jersey number changes on the roster. Guard Julian Hammond III, formerly No. 1, will wear No. 3. J’Vonne Hadley wore No. 13 last season but will take Hammond’s former No. 1.
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