Colorado University basketball is not exactly the most prestigious program in the nation. While the football program enjoyed some time as a national power, the Buffaloes men’s basketball team has had much more humble success. Nonetheless, they are still one of Colorado’s best sports teams.
During that time, a few players passed through Boulder and left an indelible mark. Plus, basketball is still one of the most popular sports in Colorado.
Here is the short list of the best players to ever play for Colorado University men’s basketball.
Chauncey Billups (1995-1997)
There is no doubting who the top name on the list is. Billups is remembered for being a high NBA Draft pick – third overall in 1997, the highest-ever for a CU player – and a solid career with the Detroit Pistons, including an NBA Championship in 2004.
But Billups, nicknamed “smooth”, became a force at Colorado. He was a dominant high school player, making him a local product all the way. He helped lead the team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in almost three decades, earning second team All-American status as well.
Though he played just two years in Boulder, Billups left an indelible mark. It doesn’t hurt that he went on to have such a successful NBA career, either. As if he weren’t local enough, playing high school and college ball in Colorado, he had a pair of All-Star seasons with the Denver Nuggets as well.
Chauncey Billups in college at Colorado pic.twitter.com/SAiG4L6zFH
— Frosty Bias ☘️ (@FrostyBias) August 21, 2020
Scott Wedman (1971-1974)
Wedman spent three years as a member of the Buffaloes, becoming an impact player as a junior during the 1972-73 season. That year, he averaged nearly 18 points and more than 9 rebounds per game. It would be a precursor of what was to come in his senior season.
Wedman would earn his second of two consecutive All-Big Eight Conference honors, registering 20 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a senior. He would lead the Buffs in scoring during his final two years, scoring 1,251 career points.
Wedman would go sixth overall to the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in the 1974 NBA Draft (he was also second overall in the ABA Draft). In 13 years in the NBA, he would win a pair of NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics before going into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Chauncey & Scott Wedman. Colorado’s finest pic.twitter.com/uG8AouLnsg
— Drek Daring (@JGage27) May 29, 2022
Like Billups, Williams would establish himself as a local boy through and through. He began by playing at Denver East High School before moving on to CU. He would then eventually play for the ABA’s Denver Rockets and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.
He averaged more than 18 points as a senior at CU, his best year. That was good enough to get him All-Big Eight honorable mention as well. Despite being somewhat undersized as a 6’2” point guard, he would be good enough to go on to the NBA, getting picked in the sixth round of the 1968 NBA Draft by the 76ers.
Williams might not have been the scorer that Billups and Wedman were, focusing instead on tenacious defense and great passing ability. Many wonder how good he could have been if not for a knee injury that took his junior season away from him. There is little doubt of the impact that Williams made on Colorado basketball at all levels.
Chuck Williams was a part of the ABA from ‘70 to ‘76, playing for his hometown Nuggets, the Condors, Q’s and others.
Williams was part of two ASG teams and had his best season in ‘73 when he averaged 17 PPG and 8 APG.
Chuck is in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/E7nC1U86wn
— ABAthrowbacks (@abathrowbacks) May 19, 2023
Jay Humphries (1980-1984)
Humphries carved out an incredible four-year career for himself at Colorado University. He was a star in high school and continued that level of play well into his college career. During his time, Humphries broke 16 separate Colorado University basketball records.
When all was said and done, Humphries held several records. He still has the most steals in a season (115), career (309), and a single game (10). He was the school leader in career assists until McKinley Wright IV recently set the new mark with 683.
After a sterling career at Colorado, Humphries would be the 13th pick in the 1984 NBA Draft to the Phoenix Suns. Though he wasn’t a star, he carved out a nice 13-year career in the league before ultimately retiring from the game in 1995. He has since embarked on a coaching career, including time with both the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets.
— Frosty Bias ☘️ (@FrostyBias) July 5, 2022
Alec Burks (2010-2012)
You don’t have to spend four years with a program to make an impact. Burks showed that by having a substantial impact on the Buffs during just two seasons with the program. But those two years were as impactful as it gets.
He became the first Big 2 Freshman of the Year in CU history in 2010, averaging more than 17 points and 5 rebounds per game. He would up his game as a sophomore, going up to 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game en route to Big 12 First Team honors.
After two dominant seasons in Boulder, he decided to enter the NBA Draft. The Utah Jazz took him with the 12th overall pick in 2011 and he has had a solid NBA career over the last decade. He currently plays with the New York Knicks, one of the burgeoning young teams in the league.
— NBA (@NBA) July 20, 2023
Spencer Dinwiddie (2011-2014)
Dinwiddie came to the program with some mighty accolades, including the 2011 John R. Wooden California High School Player of the Year. He immediately made his presence known, bringing the Buffs back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade as a freshman.
Dinwiddie looked like a star in the making after his 2012-13 season. He averaged more than 15 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. He would earn All-Pac 12 First-Team honors (he was on the All-Freshman team the year prior) and set the stage for a big career.
A scary knee injury led to him missing much of his junior year, but he wound up recovering and foregoing his senior season. He would ultimately be picked 38th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Many of the Colorado faithful feel that he could have been a dominant force on the national level had he not been injured as a junior.
SPENCER WINDIDDIE 🗡
— Zak Noble (@Zaknoble) March 17, 2022