#90 Wyoming Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


Wyoming Cowboys


2017-2018 Overall Rank: #90

Conference Rank: #4 Mountain West

Wyoming Logo
Coach Allen Edwards had a successful debut season for Wyoming. The 8-10 conference record was not much of an improvement over the previous season and finishing seventh in an 11 team conference is nothing special, but the Cowboys finished the year strong with a CBI championship, besting Coastal Carolina in the tournament’s best two-of-three final. The expectations are higher this year, especially with 6-7 wing Justin James leading the charge. He was the MVP of the CBI and the conference’s Sixth Man of the Year in last season. He will not win such honors this year, but Player of the Year is not out of the question after he averaged 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a sophomore.
2016-17 Record: 23-15, 8-10
2016-17 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Allen Edwards
Coach Record: 23-15 at Wyoming, 23-15 overall
Who’s Out:
The loss of Jason McManamen will sting for a little while. He finished his career with the Cowboys as the program’s all-time leader in three-pointers made. As a senior last season he connected on 86 long balls and averaged 11.3 points per game, although he saw his shooting percentage dip dramatically during his senior season. Jeremy Lieberman opted to transfer after starting all 37 games in 2016-2017. The 6-1 guard was not much of a scorer, but he did dish out 2.5 assists per game and played solid defense. Forward Jonathan Barnes also opted to transfer after seeing limited action as a junior. Morris Marshall, a 6-4 guard, averaged just 6.2 minutes in 14 games during his senior season.
Who’s In:
Coach Edwards welcomes in six newcomers who could suit up for the Pokes this year. Nyaires Redding spent two seasons at Washington before sitting out last season with Wyoming as a transfer. He is not a scorer, but he is a solid distributor who should be able to take over the starting point guard duties from Liberman. Another transfer, Brodricks Jones from UTEP, will add depth to the frontcourt. In his one injury shortened season with the Miners he averaged 1.3 points and 1.4 rebounds. Redshirt freshman Austin Mueller and incoming freshman Hunter Thompson will add more options to the frontcourt, although neither is expected to make a big impact right away in what is becoming a crowded frontcourt. Thompson especially has a very bright future though. Guards Anthony Mack and Hunter Maldonado have a better shot at cracking the regular rotation as freshmen. Mack is a big 6-6, 218 pound guard who can shoot the ball and could emerge as a quality scoring threat off the bench right away.
Who to Watch:
Jones joins a frontcourt that is already brimming with options. Hayden Dalton, a 6-8 senior, was second on the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game and led the squad with 8.3 rebounds. He is a very dangerous scorer and can stretch the defense with his three-point shooting ability. Fellow senior Alan Herndon is also a very good scorer and shooter. He connected on 37.9 percent of his attempts from long range and added 6.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. Last season Dalton was relegated to the bench and that could be the case again in 2017-2018. Coach Edwards may prefer to once again start Jordan Naughton beside Herndon. Naughton is not the offensive force that Dalton or Herndon is, but he is a tough defender and rebounder. Andrew Moemeka is not an offensive threat either, but is a solid backup to Naughton when Wyoming wants another tough rebounder on the floor.
Final Projection:
Louis Adams and Alexander Aka Gorski add a couple more interesting options on the perimeter. Adams, a 6-4 senior, was a part-time starter last season and averaged 7.6 points per game. He is a very talented player, but needs to make better decisions. He shot just 27.7 percent from beyond the arc and too often forced up bad shots. If he can play within himself, Adams could be a double digit scorer. Aka Gorski, a 6-5 senior, could start over Adams, but he is more of a one-dimensional player on the offensive end and will take a ton of three-pointers. He is best suited as a shooter off the bench. Coach Edwards has options all over the floor and that is a great thing to have. However, Wyoming needs some of those options to turn into All-Mountain West caliber players if they are going to win the Mountain West or compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / V16
Projected Starting Five:
Nyaires Redding, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Louis Adams, Senior, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Justin James, Junior, Guard, 16.0 points per game
Alan Herndon, Senior, Forward, 11.1 points per game
Jordan Naughton, Junior, Forward, 4.4 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.9 (67th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.6 (231, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.5 (233, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.1 (19, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.7 (18, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (173, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.0 (87, 3)
Rebound Margin: -1.1 (245, 11)
Assists Per Game: 14.9 (79, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (196, 10)