There is perhaps no other player on the Colorado men’s basketball team who enjoys summer training more than Javon Ruffin.
For the first time since arriving on campus a year ago, Ruffin is perfectly healthy.
It was a lost rookie season for Ruffin, who came to CU with an injured knee and saw his attempt to return to the Buffaloes for at least late-season practice stalled by a back injury.
Ruffin is trying to make these fights history. With that in mind, he recently ditched the bulky knee brace that has been part of the equation for the past year. For Ruffin, removing the brace means that confidence has returned, which is a crucial step for any player returning from a lengthy injury layoff.
“I’ve decided to get rid of it,” Ruffin said. “It’s been over a year. They told me maybe after a year I could get rid of it. Mentally I’m confident enough to go play without it and not be shy or worried about it. It’s good to get rid of it. It’s too big to play out there all the time.”
A year ago, the Buffs welcomed a recruiting class that ranked at the top of the Pac-12 and in the top 20 nationally. However, CU received essentially about half of the potential staffing contributions from the five-player class. While guards KJ Simpson and Julian Hammond III stayed on the rotation all season, Ruffin and Quincy Allen (hip) were both absent year-round through injuries. The fifth freshman, 7-foot-1 Lawson Lovering, played about half the season before being sidelined with a knee injury.
Ruffin’s troubles began more than a year ago with a dislocated right kneecap that required surgery. Ruffin, the son of former NBA veteran and former Cherry Creek star Michael Ruffin, was still eyeing a possible midseason comeback, but during last fall’s preseason his knee required repeat surgery, as done by CU head coach at the time Tad Boyle described it as a “clean up” procedure that essentially sentenced Ruffin to a red shirt season.
Despite this, Ruffin was able to return to training over the winter and hoped to at least train at the track. However, a back injury sent Ruffin back to the training room. Summer training has revealed a fully healthy Ruffin for the first time since arriving at CU.
“It’s great to see him out on the floor,” Boyle said. “It’s great to see him pacing and not having to watch from the sidelines. Instead of being stuck with the coaches or the strength coach, he’s one of the guys now. It’s good. His shot looks more fluid. It’s good to have a big guard out there with some size and strength. Next year will be like his freshman year, despite being a redshirt freshman.
“It will still be a leap for him. Hopefully the (muscle) memory will come back to him. He’s a good player. A solid, intelligent player and we look forward to his contributions.”
At 6-foot-5, Ruffin is the kind of taller guard that could abound in the 2022-23 rotation. Behind reigning two-guard starter Nique Clifford is a barrage of big-bodied guards who could give Boyle plenty of options along the perimeter, a list that includes Ruffin, 6-foot-4 rookie RJ Smith and the 6- Foot 5 Yale transfer Jalen includes Gabbidon, 6 foot 3 Princeton transfer Ethan Wright and even the 6 foot 8 Allen.
“I haven’t played a game in over a year,” Ruffin said. “I do it with pleasure. I’m ready for the season but I know I’m not as good at the moment as I will be at the start of the season. I just have to keep working and make sure I arrive and earn a place.”
https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/06/24/finally-healthy-javon-ruffin-ready-to-mix-it-up-with-cu-buffs-mens-basketball/ Finally healthy, Javon Ruffin ready to mix it up with CU Buffs men’s basketball – Greeley Tribune