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By: Scott Arnold, ProMotion Ltd.
Prior to CU's entry into the Pac-12, men's basketball coach Tad Boyle is making recruiting inroads in California.
Boyle Heads West, Lands Three Top California Recruits
Release: November 14, 2010
By: CUBuffs.com
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BOULDER - With Colorado about to enter a West Coast-based conference in 2011, establishing a strong recruiting presence in California might have seemed a natural move for Tad Boyle. The Buffaloes' new men's basketball coach went west and struck it rich.

It's been a while - two-plus decades, in fact - since CU hoops experienced such success in the Los Angeles area. But that venture worked out pretty well, with Jay Humphries and Vince Kelley, both from Inglewood High School, and Johnny Wilkes, from Dorsey, coming to Boulder for the 1980-81 season.

Humphries wound up 14th on CU's all-time scoring list with 1,306 points, while Kelley finished 18th with 1,180.

Next season, CU fans will say hello to touted LA-area products Askia Booker, Spencer Dinwiddie and Damiene Cain.

"This is a great start for recruiting for our coaching staff being our first full year," Boyle said. "To land three kids from Los Angeles, in a footprint of the Pac-12 Conference, is a huge step for our program. It bodes well for future years and future recruiting inroads into the Los Angeles area."

The trio signed letters of intent with CU last week during the early November signing period, and Boyle is "really pleased" about landing all three for his program's debut season in the Pac-12.

"I'm not the kind of guy that pumps recruiting classes," Boyle said. "I'm not saying this is a ranked recruiting class; all I know is all three of these kids will help Colorado basketball compete at a high level in the Pac-12 - so I'm excited."

The Buffs will lose four seniors - Cory Higgins, Marcus Relphorde, Levi Knutson and Javon Coney - next season, so court time will be available for any newcomers proving worthy. And based on their resumes, all three in-coming freshmen appear capable of competing right away.

A capsule look at each prospect:

ASKIA BOOKER
Position: Guard (scoring/combo)
Height: 6-1
Weight: 175
High school: Price (Los Angeles)

Vital stats/storylines: ESPN.com ranks Booker No. 30 nationally at his position . . . . Rivals.com rates him a three-star prospect . . . . Averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists last season in leading Price - one of California's top Class 3A schools - to 33 wins and a Division IV state title . . . . Played for a pair of AAU powerhouse programs (Compton Magic, Belmont Shores) . . . . In addition to CU, he received offers from Cal State-Northridge, Colgate, Columbia, Long Beach State, Montana State and UC-Davis. UCLA also had shown interest, but wanted to wait and evaluate his senior season.

CU scouting report: Explosive guard who excels at driving to the hoop and finishing over bigger defenders . . . . Strength and athleticism have helped him succeed at the high school level . . . . Interested in a business major.

Boyle's take: "He's a utility guard - not a guy you put in a category as far as a point-guard or a two-guard; he's just a good basketball player.  He can pass, he can dribble, he can shoot, he's athletic. He has a high-degree of character and comes from a great family, he's well-raised. He's a guy we're going to have to kick out of the gym. With this brand new practice facility, he's a guy who will be wearing it out because he loves to play and he's going to get better and better throughout the course of his career."

Booker's take: "I had a lot of mid-major colleges on me and I actually had Colorado on me before the summer but they had fallen off because my summer didn't go too well. But one day Coach Jean Prioleau, one of their assistant coaches, came to my high school to watch one of our other players, Norvel Pelle, and I ended up doing pretty well in practice. So they spotted me again.

"Coach Prioleau went back and told Coach Boyle about me. They came back to see me again and they invited me out on an official visit, which I took (Oct. 22).

"I loved the campus and loved the coaches. I felt loved out there. They want me to play right away, so I feel I can go there and make an impact. And they are going to the Pac-12, which is something that also really sold me on them."


SPENCER DINWIDDIE
Position: Point guard
Height: 6-4
Weight: 175
High school: Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.)

Vital stats/storylines: Second-ranked point guard in California and a preseason second-team all-state selection as chosen by ESPN.com . . . . Preseason first-team all-city . . . . 2009-10 stats were modest: 5.9 points. 4.1 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals. But he was playing with potential college stars Bryce Jones and DeAndre Daniels - and the Toreadors compiled 26 wins . . . . Over the summer, Dinwiddie's AAU team - Double Pump Elite - won the under-17 division championship in the prestigious adidas Super 64 tournament in Las Vegas, with Dinwiddie selected as the MVP . . . . CU began recruiting Dinwiddie this summer . . . . A three-star prospect on Rivals.com, he also took official visits to Harvard and Oregon before committing to the Buffs.

CU scouting report: Pure-point guard who utilizes his length, speed, and quickness . . . . High basketball IQ allows him to consistently make high-level plays . . . . At his best when running in transition, always keeping his head up and looking to set up his teammates, which he does very well . . . . Tremendous leader in the half-court, very vocal, and directs his teammates where they are suppose to be . . . . Interested in a business major.

Boyle's take: "Spencer is a true 6-4 point-guard. He was probably one of my favorite guards during the month of July when I went out to recruit. We always kept coming back to him. Every time he played, his team seemed to win; he's just a winner. He comes from a great high school, another great family. I think Spencer has a chance to be an all-conference-type player in the Pac-12."

Dinwiddie's take: "I would have still been interested in (CU) if they were staying in the Big 12 but the fact they are moving to the Pac-12 was a big selling point and helped me out with my decision. I love the style that Boyle's teams play. I watched practice and liked how he conducted himself. I like just him as a person. He is very genuine, very honest. And he has a winning track record. And they talked about the potential for me to start. So that is what I am going to try to come in and do. I will try to lead them to a Pac-12 Conference championship.

"I have been confident in my abilities for a while but I didn't really get a chance to show it until the summer going into my junior year. And I still haven't had an explosive high school season because of the school that I play at. But as far as AAU ball, going into my junior year was when I really started playing against the best level of competition and started to prove myself.

"The colleges love that I am a big, pass-first point guard. I am a great leader and a great winner. Even if my team is not the most talented, I am going to help us find a way to win.

"This will be my first year running full-time point at my high school so I am excited for the season. My stats before never reflected my ability. I am going to be able to do my thing this year."


DAMIENE CAIN
Position: Forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 230
High school: Harvard Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)

Vital stats/storylines: Rivals.com and ESPN.com rate Cain as a three-star recruit and among the best power forwards in California . . . . Played AAU summer ball with the Compton Magic and saw his recruitment explode . . . . Received 17 scholarship offers and took official visits to CU, Boston College and San Diego State . . . . Has been a starter since his freshman season at Harvard Westlake . . . . Averaged 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.9 assists during his junior campaign . . . . Harvard Westlake coach Greg Hilliard calls Cain "a picture of consistency. He gets a double-double almost every night. He rebounds as well as anybody. He is not a power rebounder, but rather an instinctual rebounder. He gets a ton of rebounds against taller and sometimes bigger opponents."

CU scouting report: Skill level and size will produce matchup problems for opposing teams . . . . Has a great pair of hands and great ability to pass the ball from the post . . .  . Very unselfish player . . . . Has a tremendous feel for the game.

Boyle's take: "Damiene adds some size to our class, he's 6-7, he can really play in the low-post, can score, he can also step-out - so he's an inside-out type guy. He comes from the same AAU program (Compton Magic) that (current redshirt-freshman) Shannon Sharpe came from. Damiene gives us a low-post presence in terms of to score the basketball. You have to guard him on the block because he has a tremendous feel for the game."

Cain's take: "I liked everything about my visit - the campus was beautiful and I liked the team, the players, and of course, Coach Boyle and his staff. That was big for me. The dorms were good, the new practice facility and the new C4C building - that blew my mind when I walked in. And Boulder itself . . . I liked it all.

"I actually saw a scrimmage during my visit, and I could see myself playing my position right away. I really do think I have a big chance of playing (as a freshman).

"I think I've got a good post presence; I can pull out and shoot the jumper. If a big man is guarding me, I can take him out. If a smaller is guarding me, I can post him up. I believe I'm versatile as a post player.

"My weight is correct, about 230 pounds. I can definitely work on my strength and conditioning, and I expect to do that before I report. Right now, I'm not ready to play at that level - but I will be.

"I used to live in Colorado (Colorado Springs) when I was younger. My dad went to Colorado Christian University. We moved to Southern California when I was, oh, 5-ish. I expect to be getting to (CU) campus for the second summer session in July."

(Some information in this report was provided by Rivals.com)

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