Oct. 11, 2007
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
College basketball practices begin this weekend across the country and for the Wyoming Cowboys it will mark the beginning of the Heath Schroyer era in Laramie. Coach Schroyer and his Cowboys invite fans to attend their first open practice on Saturday morning, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Arena-Auditorium.
"It's an exciting time for me personally, for our coaching staff and for our players," said Schroyer, who originally coached at Wyoming as an assistant back in the 2001-02 season. "We're looking forward to a great year on and off the floor."
Schroyer will welcome back eight lettermen and seven newcomers for the beginning of practice. Leading the way for the eight lettermen will be the backcourt of junior Brandon Ewing and senior Brad Jones. Ewing led the Mountain West Conference in scoring last season and ranked No. 28 in the nation, averaging 19.9 points per game. Ewing earned Second Team All-Mountain West Conference honors. Jones concluded last season as the only player in the league to rank among the Top Five individuals in both scoring and assists. Jones averaged 18.1 points per game to rank No. 3 in the MWC. He led the Mountain West in assists, handing out 4.5 per game. He was named ot the 2007 MWC All-Tournament Team and was a Third Team All-Conference selection. Ewing and Jones are the top two returning scorers in the Mountain West from last season.
Other returning lettermen include: seniors Joseph Taylor and Byron Geis; junior Bienvenu Songondo; and sophomores Eric Platt, Ryan Dermody and Travis Nelson. Taylor started 26 of 28 games as a junior last year. He pulled down 5.5 rebounds per game to rank second on the team. He also led UW in blocked shots, averaging 1.5 per contest to rank No. 5 in the conference. Platt enjoyed an outstanding freshman season, averaging 6.2 points per game to rank sixth for the Cowboys and second among MWC freshmen.
The seven newcomers include: freshmen Mikhail Linskens of West-Vlaanderen, Belgium; Marios Matalon of Thessaloniki, Greece; Afam Muojeke of Jamaica Queens, N.Y.; and Adam Wadell of Cody, Wyo. The other three newcomers are: Tyson Johnson from Blinn Community College in Texas; Sean Ogirri a transfer from Wichita State; and Travis Bunker, who is a walk-on transfer from College of Southern Idaho. Bunker is originally from Beaver, Utah. Ogirri will have to sit out of competition this year to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, but he will be able to practice with the team.
"We have a lot to do this fall," added Schroyer. "Although we have a number of key players returning, everything will be new to everybody as we install our new offensive and defensive systems. Offensively, we will be changing from a three-out, two-in offense like our veterans were used to last year to a four-out, one-in motion offense with only one post player. Our offense will involve a lot of screening, cutting and ball movement. We want to get up and down the floor, but we want to be disciplined in our shot selection.
"Defensively, we're going to be primarily a man-to-man defense. We want to try and extend the floor as much as possible after made baskets.
"Finally, we need to build a mindset that we can win on the road, and our players have to learn how to do that. Winning on the road requires understanding that we have to take good shots, and we have to defend. My philosophy is built around getting as many high-percentage shots as we can on offense and limiting high-percentage shots by our opponents."
The Cowboys first game of the 2007-08 season will be an exhibition against Regis University in Laramie on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m.