by Keith Kelley–27 Sep ’22
The Wyoming Cowboy basketball team starting practices yesterday (Monday) in Laramie. There’s a lot of expectation with this team, as head coach Jeff Linder enters his third year with the program. The Pokes are poised to have one of their better seasons, returning 85-percent of their scoring from last year, along with bringing in three power five transfers. The competition for playing time has never been higher, and the expectations are going to be just as high. The Cowboys have a chance to be extremely versatile, and Linder says that’s what happens when you bring in guys that know how to play.
“When you recruit good players that can pass, handle and shoot, then you can do a lot of different things. And I think our basketball IQ and intelligence is really high for a college team, so that allows us to do some things that other teams can’t do.” Linder adds, “and then you look at our experience with Maldo (Hunter Maldanado) and Hunter Thompson coming back for their sixth year, and the three transfers are going into their fourth year, Kenny’s (Foster) is going through his fourth year, Wenzel (Brenden) is going into his fourth year, Graham (Ike), JO (Jeremiah Oden), X (Xavier DuSell), those guys are going into their third year. We’ve got a lot of experience and that goes a long way in college basketball.”
The three transfers coming in are Max Agbonkpolo and Ethan Anderson from USC and Jake Kyman from UCLA. All three made their recruiting visit at the same time, and all got to go up and down the floor with the current roster. Agbonkpolo said that time on the floor really sold him on Wyoming.
“You could just tell that the whole team knew how to play basketball. There was no one-on-one the whole time. Even though no one was calling sets, everyone was always moving, and everyone was getting good shots.” Agbonkpolo added, “they knew how to play without the coaches watching, which you don’t see that a lot. Usually when you put a bunch of kids out their to play, it turns into one-on-one. It was a lot of movement, a lot cuts, a lot screens, and that’s another thing that sold it for me, because it was going to a place where everyone knew how to play basketball and knows how to play the right way.”
The Cowboys will hold an open scrimmage this Saturday at 3 pm, before the Wyoming football game against San Jose State.