Mo­randais still happy to help

Re­tire­ment on hold for now

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pat Rooney

BOUL­DER» Michel Mo­randais is call­ing it an un­of­fi­cial re­tire­ment.

And, though that phrase might be an in­her­ent con­tra­dic­tion, at this point Mo­randais prob­a­bly wants equal em­pha­sis on each word.

As re­cent Team Colorado work­outs showed, Mo­randais still has an am­ple sup­ply of the scor­ing touch that lit up the Coors Events Cen­ter more than a decade ago. On the other hand, Mo­randais also had his 8-year-old son along for the ride last week in Boul­der, and with his own health-con­scious frozen yo­gurt busi­ness do­ing well in Florida, on some days it’s dif­fi­cult for Mo­randais to ig­nore the re­al­ity he is one of the old­est play­ers on Team Colorado’s ros­ter.

“You don’t turn down good job of­fers, and at some point you al­ways want to be out there,” Mo­randais said. “If I feel like I can con­trib­ute to a team, I’ll be out there. If I feel like it’s time to pass the torch, then that’s OK.”

For a player who ar­rived at CU with an in­ter­na­tional pedi­gree (he is a na­tive of Guade­loupe in the French West Indies) Mo­randais has added only a few var­ied stamps to his pass­port since his pro ca­reer be­gan in 2004-05, spend­ing the past 13 sea­sons in Italy, Spain or France. While this is the third in­car­na­tion of Team Colorado for The Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment, a $2 mil­lion win­ner-take-all event, this sum­mer marks Mo­randais’ first turn with the squad of for­mer Colorado Buf­faloes play­ers.

If Mo­randais opts to not sign a con­tract for a 14th pro­fes­sional sea­son, get­ting one last run along­side for­mer CU team­mates Chris Copeland, Mar­cus Hall and James Wright prob­a­bly will be a mean­ing­ful way to call it a ca­reer.

“I was watch­ing them last sum­mer and I saw Mar­cus was play­ing, and even though I played just one year of col­lege with Mar­cus we kept in touch and stayed good friends,” Mo­randais said. “I was think­ing this would be a great way for us to play to­gether. So I got in touch with Chris. I got in touch with James. And now we’re here.”

Un­til coach Tad Boyle led the Buffs to four NCAA Tour­na­ments in five sea­sons be­tween 2012 and 2016, Mo­randais held the man­tle as the top scorer on the best CU team in a 15-year span, av­er­ag­ing a team-lead­ing 16.9 points for the 2002-03 squad that reached the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

“To me, this is not just about (the money),” Mo­randais said. “It’s about rep­re­sent­ing my alma mater and be­ing there with the guys. That’s why I’m here and why I’m go­ing through all this now.”

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