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Colorado Buffaloes' Askia Booker pulls himself out of CBI tournament

Colorado Buffaloes' leading scorer pulls himself off team before CBI tournament

Colorado accepted an invitation to play in the College Basketball Invitational, but the Buffaloes' leading scorer, Askia Booker, apparently did not.

The senior guard informed Colorado Coach Tad Boyle on Sunday he would not be joining the team at the CBI tournament Wednesday when it faces Gardner-Webb.

"I said, 'How are you feeling?' He said, 'Coach, I don’t want to play,' " Boyle said according to the school's website. "He's a senior. . . . I can't really comment; that's something for 'Ski.' I respect it and we'll move on. It is what it is."

Colorado (15-17, 7-11 Pac-12) was the only Power 5 conference school that accepted an invitation to play in the CBI. Oregon State (17-14, 8-10) received an offer but opted not to play in the tournament.

Booker, 21, was the Pac-12's third leading scorer this season, averaging 17.2 points per game, and 18.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.71 steals in conference play. 

"I don't know if it's fair or not, but I did mention to Ski, 'You realize you're going to take some heat with this decision,' and he shook his head like he understood," Boyle told the Denver Post. "It goes with the territory. Ski's a big boy, he's an adult now; he's going to be a college graduate in May."

Despite Booker's sudden exit, Colorado guard Xavier Talton said he respected his teammate's decision.

"He's given his heart and soul to this team for the past four years," Talton said.

Seven Pac-12 teams are playing in postseason tournaments with Arizona, Oregon, Utah and UCLA playing for a chance at the national championship in the NCAA tournament. Stanford and Arizona State will play in the National Invitation Tournament.

Colorado is making its first appearance in the CBI, which is also experimenting with a 30-second shot clock to improve the pace of play.

Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme

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