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NCAA Cross Country Champions
By: Ray Miller
Freshman Alec Burks says he believes in new coach Tad Boyle.
Burks' Big Decision: He's Still A Buff
Release: April 21, 2010
By: B.G. Brooks, Contributing Editor
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BOULDER - University of Colorado basketball fans can exhale; Alec Burks is staying put.

The Big 12 Conference's freshman of the year said Wednesday he was angry and frustrated last week when he floated the possibility of transferring if CU Associate Head Coach Steve McClain was not promoted to succeed Jeff Bzdelik.

That didn't happen. Tad Boyle, formerly of Northern Colorado, was introduced Monday as the Buffaloes' 18th head hoops coach, and Burks said afterwards he would "explore my options."

But less than 48 hours later, Burks had moved solidly into Boyles' corner.

"He told me his plan, I liked it and I like him . . . I'm putting all of my trust in him," Burks said. "He said we were going to play hard, play fast and go all out to win - and I believe in that."

Burks, whose 512 points made him the first CU freshman to surpass 500, said his mother also played a pivotal role in his decision: "She agreed that the best thing for me was to stay here . . . I can see that, too. I like it a lot out here."

The Grandview, Mo., product figures to be an integral part of a CU team that will enter the 2010-11 season with high expectations. After finishing a game below .500 overall (15-16) and 6-10 in the Big 12 (eighth place) this season, the Buffs have their sights on an NCAA Tournament berth next season. CU's two most recent NCAA appearances came in 2003 and 1997.

Envisioning an NBA career, Burks said transferring to another Division I program and having to sit out a season per NCAA transfer rules didn't make sense.

"That's one of the things it came down to, too," he said. "My mom said the worst thing I could have done was act out of frustration . . . I'm over that now.

"When I said all that I was just mad that coach McClain didn't get it. I was always pretty close to him, but I know I'm going to get close to coach Boyle, too."

On Monday, when asked about the Burks scenario, Boyle said all he wanted the athletic 6-foot-6 guard to do was "try and get to know me - just make the effort to get to know me. And after you've come to know me a little bit, then you have to make the decision that is best for you . . .

"But I think with the year he had and the kind of career that's in front of him, I want to help him continue to grow and make him a better player."

Burks, who averaged 17.1 points a game was only the second CU freshman to lead the team in rebounding (5.0), said Boyle told the Buffs Wednesday that his style of play would be "faster, more up tempo and allow us to show more athleticism . . . I'm all about that."

Chief among his off-season goals is putting on at least 10 pounds. He finished his freshman season weighing about 185. A bigger, faster, stronger Burks should be a boon for Boyle's first Buffs team.

"I want to get stronger, faster and more explosive," he said. "I'm still very young; I know I can put on some more weight."

But even as a wiry first-year player in the Big 12, Burks was impressive. His 17.1 points a game average this season led all Big 12 freshmen and placed him fourth nationally. He was second in the conference in rebounding and fourth in steals.

Burks scored 20 or more points in eight games and led CU in scoring in 12 games and in rebounding in 14 games. He made the Basketball Times first-team All-America freshman team and was a second-team freshman All-America selection by The Sporting News.

Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU

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