March 26, 2012
Shyatt's Cowboys Look Toward Future
The Cowboy basketball team completed a successful season under head coach Larry Shyatt, especially considering the mess the program was in exactly one year ago. Turn the clock back to late March 2011, the Pokes were without a permanent coach after a midseason firing, two of their most promising and talented players were heading out the door along with a handful of others, and the team had won a combine 20 games in two seasons.
Shyatt did a master job of taking the remaining returning players and leading the Cowboys to their first postseason in nine seasons and 21 victories including six in the challenging Mountain West Conference, and just as important they were competitive in every game whether home or on the road in conference play.
Wyoming will lose four regular contributors in Jaydee Luster, Adam Waddell, Paco Cruz, and Arthur Bouedo, and it will be interesting to see what direction Shyatt goes with recruiting.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the UW staff go with a couple of transfers to balance the classes and help find compliments to the likes of forward's Leonard Washington and Larry Nance, Jr., wingman Luke Martinez, and point guard Derrious Gilmore, players who'll be counted on in 2012-13.
The development in the offseason of the returning veterans, along with the young players like Riley Grabau, Shakir Smith, Juco transfer center Matt Sellers and perhaps Tyrone Marshall will be key to success next season.
Adding some impact players in the spring recruiting and the hopes a couple of heralded freshmen can help in 2012-13 can't be overlooked. Denver products in point guard Josh Adams and Austin Haldorson might be an early answer.
Leonard Washington (6-7, 245 Sr)
Washington should be among the league's best players entering his senior season and a darkhorse for conference MVP honors. The Cowboys will look for more consistency from the team leader with a player who can score, rebound, and defend with the best in the league. He's one of the most athletic players in the conference.
Larry Nance, Jr. (6-8, 210 So)
Nance has the makeup and right attitude to make big gains entering his second season. He's certainly is growing and should physically mature more during the offseason. The Cowboys hope to see him improve his offensive game, while he seems already on track as a good rebounder and defender.
Matt Sellers (6-10, 250 So)
Sellers is the wildcard and benefited spending time with Shyatt's staff after enrolling for the spring semester. He'll bring the Cowboys immediate size and potential skills as an offensive post player. How he develops over the next several months will be interesting to watch.
Tyrone Marshall (6-8, 220 So)
Shyatt said it's up in the air whether Marshall returns. If he does, he'll need to make measurable strides and could work himself into the rotation with a good physically build as a young player.. If he doesn't come back to UW, the Cowboys likely look toward signing another interior player to replace him.
Luke Martinez (6-4, 190 Sr)
Martinez will be an important part of the Cowboys and still has some upside to be developed as an offensive force. His long arms helps him as a top notch defender and he has shown the ability as a good perimeter shooter, though he struggled later in the year. If the senior can develop a mid-range game or add another offensive side, he could become one of the league's best scorers.
Derrious Gilmore (5-9, 170 Sr)
Gilmore played good minutes behind Luster and should benefit from a summer in Laramie. He was ruled ineligible for a portion of the league schedule but returned to log a decent amount of court time. He should be leading candidate to take over the point guard duties while showing some shooting touch and an occasion ability to score off penetration. Shyatt will certainly look for Gilmore to upgrade his game and become an important player in his senior season.
Riley Grabau (6-2, 170 So)
Grabau is a favorite of Shyatt's and appears to have the potential to bring a good floor game to the Cowboys in the near future. He played some minutes and showed a good perimeter stroke at times. Like the other freshmen in the program, he'll have a chance to develop himself in the offseason and help the program next year.
Shakir Smith (6-2, 180 So)
Smith didn't play much as a freshmen but appears to possess some quickness and court energy. Smith like Grabau could work himself into the rotation with a strong offseason of development.
Josh Adams (6-1, 180 Fr)
Adams helped lead his high school team to the Colorado state championship with an amazing winning tip at the buzzer. He's has very good athleticism with a 40+ vertical jump and good basketball skills with court sense to contribute immediately to the program.
Austin Haldorson (6-8, 200 Fr.)
Haldorson has big upside written all over him with his outside/inside offensive skills and good jumping ability. The key with the Colorado product is how quickly he can mature physically.
Jason Mcmanamen (6-5, 180 Fr)
The Torrington product has good size for a wing player and was evaluated as a good shooter, while likely he is a few seasons away from reaching his potential.
The Pokes will have at least two scholarships and maybe three at their disposal, depending on whether Marshall returns. Shyatt mentions he like to sign a wing player and forward with the first two and likely the third would go to an interior player. Outside of the Marshall question, the UW head coach expects the rest of the roster to remain intact.
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