The Wyoming Cowboy basketball team will officially begin the 2017-18 season on Friday, as it will hold the first full practice of the year. The Cowboys will have 36 days to prepare for their first game of the season, an exhibition contest against Regis on Friday, Nov. 3.
The Cowboys will practice in Casper next Saturday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gymnasium on the campus of Casper College. Fans are encouraged to attend to meet the Pokes after practice for autographs. More information on the event will be announced next week.
“We are excited going into season two for myself and this staff,” Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards said. “We are excited with the young men we have in this program. We are in a great position with the amount of talent we have in the program. After one year of playing the new style, we feel like we head into the year with a veteran group.”
Edwards, who had the third-most wins amongst first year head coaches in the NCAA last season welcomes back three starters from a team that won the College Basketball Invitational for Wyoming’s first postseason championship since 1943. The Pokes finished last season with a 23-15 overall record. Wyoming returns three starters and nine letter winners from last season.
The Cowboys set a school record with 2,961 points last season. The Pokes also set a school and Mountain West record with 369 three pointers.
UW welcomes back Third Team All-MW selection Justin James, as he averaged 16.0 points per game to go along with 5.0 rebounds. Honorable Mention All-MW selection Hayden Dalton returns, as he added 12.2 points per game and a team-best 8.3 rebounds. Both players came primarily off the bench a season ago.
Starters returning include senior forward Alan Herndon, who averaged 11.1 points per game. He was second on the team in rebounds adding 6.0 per game. Fellow seniors guard Louis Adams added 7.6 points per game in 16 starts, while guard Alexander Aka Gorski started 15 games for the Pokes adding 7.7 points per game and hit 56 three pointers. Junior forward Jordan Naughton averaged 4.4 points per game to go along with 2.8 rebounds in 26 starts. He shot 60 percent from the field going 89-of-138.
Other returners include sophomore guard Cody Kelley, who scored 3.4 points per game and added 1.5 assists. Sophomore forward Andrew Moemeka added 1.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Sam Averbuck added 0.7 points per game appearing in six games.
“The weight gains and increased strength was key in the offseason,” Edwards said. “We also really focused on our intensity and stamina. We want our guys to be able to run all day and be the best conditioned team in the country.”
The returners will be joined by redshirt junior guard Nyaires Redding, redshirt sophomore forward Buddha Jones and redshirt freshman forward Austin Mueller. Three new Cowboys join the group as well in freshmen guards Anthony Mack and Hunter Maldonado, and forward Hunter Thompson.
“We are excited about the incoming guys," Edwards said. "They really came in and meshed well with our veteran players."
Following their exhibition game on Nov. 3, the Cowboys will open the 2017-18 regular season on Friday, Nov. 10 when they host Chattanooga at 7 p.m.