One of the bigger questions for the Colorado men’s basketball program this offseason—“How does a logjam atop the guard rotation shake itself out?”— has received some clarity.

With freshmen guards KJ Simpson and Julian Hammond III coming on strong down the stretch for the Buffaloes, their future in the backcourt looks promising. Colorado won seven of its final eight regular season games and then beat Oregon in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. Over the team’s final five games, Hammond replaced Keeshawn Barhelemy in the starting five and Simpson took over as the primary option off the bench while Barthelemy’s minutes shrank.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera’s Pat Rooney, Barthelemy is now headed for the transfer portal. He could play as many as three years at his next school.

After a redshirt year in 2019 and then a 2020 season spent almost entirely as a reserve (11 minutes a game in 30 appearances off the bench), Barthelemy stepped into an early starting role for the Buffs for the 2021-22 season.

He drew starts in each of the team’s first 28 games this past season, earning at least 30 minutes in five of the Buffs’ first nine contests. But an early scoring binge (61 points in his first three games) gave way to inconsistency as Barthelemy struggled with his shot.

Still, the third-year guard posted season averages of 11.1 points, 2.4 assists, and 2.4 boards a game while shooting 42% from the field, 35% from 3, and 83% from the foul line. Across the board (with the lone exception being his free throw percentage), Barthelemy posted career-highs. In the team’s final game of the year, a home loss to St. Bonaventure in the NIT, he had 15 points, two assists, and a block in 27 minutes off the bench.

Had Colorado head coach Tad Boyle been able to keep him in the fold going forward, the Buffs would have been able to field a promising, young three-guard rotation next season. Hammond finished his first year averaging 3.0 points, 1.7 boards, and 1.1 assists in just over 12 minutes a night. Simpson averaged 7.4 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.4 boards in a little more than 21 minutes a night.

Now, Colorado will wait for final word on Jabari Walker, the team’s 6-foot-9 forward who led the Pac-12 in rebounding this season and finished fourth in scoring. Walker could test the NBA Draft waters, though he doesn’t show up in many early mock drafts. He’s pegged at No. 48 in Bleacher Report’s latest mock, but that’s about it when it comes to the top options. Would a mid-second-round selection be enough to entice Walker to leave Boulder? The Buffs are hoping not.

Colorado went 21-12 this past season, finishing fourth in the league and earning a first-round home game in the NIT.