#141 Wyoming Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Wyoming Cowboys
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #141
Conference Rank: #7 Mountain West
 Wyoming Logo
After back-to-back forgettable seasons, Wyoming parted ways with Allen Edwards and went out and got Jeff Linder from Northern Colorado. Coach Linder spent four seasons with the Bears and won over 20 games in each of the last three campaigns. This is basically a rebuilding job for the Cowboys, but there is some talent coming in and a few key returning players to build around. The most important is Hunter Maldonado, who led the squad with 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals. He even led the team with 17 blocks on the season. In a very disappointing year, Maldonado was a very bright spot and it is rare for a single player to lead a team in each of those categories.
2019-20 Record: 9-24, 2-16
Coach: Jeff Linder
Coach Record: 0-0 at Wyoming, 80-50 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jake Hendricks, Guard, 10.4 ppg
TJ Taylor,Guard/Forward, 7.0 ppg
AJ Banks, Guard, 4.8 ppg
Greg Milton, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Brandon Porter, Forward, 3.1 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Hunter Maldonado, Junior, Guard, 15.8 ppg
Hunter Thompson, Junior, Forward, 8.2 ppg
Kenny Foster, Sophomore, Guard, 4.8 ppg
Kwane Marble, Sophomore, Guard, 8.2 ppg
Key New Players:
Xavier DuSell, Freshman, Guard
John Grigsby, Freshman, Forward
Graham Ike, Freshman, Forward
Drake Jeffries, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Drew LaMont, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Eoin Nelson, Sophomore, Forward, JC Transfer
Jeremiah Oden, Freshman, Forward
Marcus Williams, Freshman, Guard
Maldonado will need some help around him. He did not get it last year, but the hope is he can in 2020-2021. Hunter Thompson is poised for a big junior campaign after averaging 8.8 points as a freshman and 8.2 as a sophomore. Kenny Foster and Kwane Marble both showed promise as freshmen. Foster only averaged 4.8 points per game, but he was massively successful as a prep player and could thrive in the system. Marble emerged as a future star during Wyoming’s three conference tournament games. In those three contests he averaged 19.6 points and shot 55.3 percent from the floor. Marble may not be able to keep that up, but he certainly got Cowboy fans excited after his performance in Las Vegas. Coach Linder has a decent group to build around, but it is the newcomers that give this group the potential to jump up to the middle of the Mountain West standings. The five freshmen do not have a highly publicized prep superstar, but all five are solid players who can make an impact right away. Three junior college transfers will also fight for playing time. Drew LaMont, a 6-8 forward who can stretch the defense with his outside shooting ability, could emerge as the most impactful of the bunch. Wyoming has a long way to go after winning just 17 games in the last two seasons, but the pieces are there for a Coach Linder to lead a quick turnaround.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 62.7 (335th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.9 (191, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.9 (312, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.3 (203, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (108, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (239, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.7 (115, 6)
Rebound Margin: -8.9 (347, 11)
Assists Per Game: 11.3 (300, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (130, 6)