BOULDER - University of Colorado men's basketball head coach Tad Boyle and his staff announced Wednesday the signing 6-foot-3, 195-pound point guard Eli Stalzer to a National Letter of Intent to play basketball and continue his education at CU for the 2012-13 season.
Stalzer is the sixth incoming freshman on the 2012-13 roster and joins Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.) teammate Xavier Johnson, who signed with the Buffaloes last November.
"Eli is a player our staff kept coming back to in our elevation process," Boyle said. "He is the epitome of what we consider a 'complete player' to be. His ability to pass, dribble and shoot, as well as his ability to defend multiple positions will allow him to be a valuable player for the Buffs."
Stalzer and Johnson will be the first CU student-athletes hailing from the same high school as incoming freshmen since the 1980-81 season when former CU greats Jay Humphries and Vince Kelley came to CU from Inglewood High School in Los Angeles (Humphries is CU's all-time assist leader, 14th on the all-time scoring list; Kelley is 19th in scoring).
Stalzer was a four-year letterwinner and co-captain during his senior year, where he averaged 5.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game as a senior. He also tied for the team lead with 20 blocked shots for the season. Stalzer helped lead the Monarchs to the California State Division I championship last month with a 34-2 record and a No. 2 national ranking.
It was also the ninth state championship for the prep hoops powerhouse.
Stalzer was also a co-captain and earned first-team all-conference as a junior that went 32-3 (No. 4 national ranking) during the Monarchs' 2011 California State Division I championship season. Over his four years, Stalzer helped the Monarchs to a 129-9 record (.935).
Stalzer is described as an "intangible guy" that can slide around and guard different positions. He is also a capable three-point shooter.
"My strengths are all of the little things: my understanding of the game, reading the floor, controlling the tempo, passing, handling the ball, causing turnovers and I actually lead the team in blocked shots," Stalzer said during an interview with BuffStampede.com on March 23. "I have a good shot but that was not my role this year. I do whatever it takes to support my team and win."
Stalzer joins CU's incoming freshmen class this is ranked a top-25 class by ESPN. He joins Josh Scott (6-9, 215, Power Forward, Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer HS); Wesley Gordon (6-8, 205, Forward, Colorado Springs, Colo./Sierra HS); Xavier Johnson (6-6, 180, Forward, Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei HS); Chris Jenkins (6-7, 185, Forward, Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit HS); Xavier Talton (6-1, 175, Point-Guard, Sterling, Colo./Sterling HS).
"I'm very excited to be a part of this program," Stalzer said. "Coach Boyle is awesome. He is very honest and straightforward so you know exactly what he wants and where you stand. He stresses defense, which is one of my strengths, so I think I will fit in well with his coaching style.
"It was really fun watching CU in the [Pac-12] playoffs and in the [NCAA] tournament. I think with the coaching staff, the talent on the team and the class coming in, CU has the ability to make it to the Final Four and I want to be part of it. ... I can't wait to get to Colorado."
-Stalzer is the second NLI signee in as many years to sign during the spring signing period with the Boyle coaching staff. Jeremy Adams signed with the Buffs in April 2011.
-CU's six freshmen at the start of the season on the active roster would tie for third all-time in school history.
*8, 2006-07 (one senior): 7-20, 3-13 Big 12: Ricardo Patton;
7, 1993-94 (one senior): 10-17, 2-10 Big 8: Joe Harrington;
*6, 1980-81 (five seniors): 16-12, 5-9 Big 8: Bill Blair.
*-coach's last year at CU
- Stalzer and Xavier Johnson will be the first high school teammates on the CU roster since Matt Greenwald and Blair Wilson played together in 2001-02 and 2002-03. Both played at Westminster High School. Greenwald was a junior and senior, while Wilson was a sophomore and junior.
(Some information in this report was provided by Adam Munsterteiger, Rivals.com)