In hiring former Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle, Colorado took a risk. In the days leading up to Boyle's hiring, current Colorado players Alec Burks and Nate Tomlinson were very clear about who they thought should be the next Colorado coach, and it was not Tad Boyle. Instead, the players preferred associate head coach Steve McClain. Burks, the Buffaloes' best player and a projected first-round NBA draft pick in 2011, went so far as to say he would "stay with McClain" but that if someone else was hired he "didn't know" what he would do. Even Chauncy Billups threw his support behind McClain. That Colorado didn't acquiesce to this pressure is admirable, but that won't make keeping Alec Burks in Boulder any easier.
Burks hasn't wavered. In an interview with The Dagger's Jeff Eisenberg, Burks' former AAU coach Rodney Perry said that though jumping into the draft wasn't an option, Burks was keeping everything else on the table:
"We don't feel like he's ready to go to the NBA yet, so we'll have to evaluate our options," Rodney Perry, Burks' former AAU coach, said by phone Monday morning. "Alec is comfortable at Colorado because he has been there a year already. Before we start looking at any other schools, we're going to give the new coach an opportunity to see if Colorado is the best fit."
That quote is not as dire as the situation once seemed, but it's clear the Burks entourage is less than thrilled with the Boyle hire. What does Tad Boyle do about all this? Just like John Lennon sang: All Tad Boyle is saying is give Tad Boyle a chance:
During a Monday morning meeting with the CU players, Boyle said he told Burks: "You just have to get to know me. And after you get to know me a little bit, you have to make a decision that's best for you."
"He's an important piece of the puzzle, but they all are," Boyle added. "If they're truly Colorado Buffaloes and want to be here, we shouldn't have any issues."
That's just about all Boyle can do. He needs to put on the charm offensive, remind Alec that transferring and sitting out for a year is never the best way to enhance your NBA draft stock, and hope that Burks is comfortable enough with him that the hostage situation over McClain's snub doesn't intensify. If Burks leaves, oh well. But if history is any indication, cooler heads will prevail, the two will forge a relationship, and Burks will be around Boulder for at least another season.