Oct. 14, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
A veteran University of Wyoming Cowboy basketball team will begin practice for the 2010-11 season this Friday in the Arena-Auditorium.
Wyoming's veterans include five returning starters and nine letterwinners who will take the floor under fourth-year head coach Heath Schroyer. The Cowboys also welcome five newcomers who are anticipated to fill some needed roles in the Cowboy lineup.
"This is a great time of year, and we will roll up our sleeves and get to work on Friday evening," Schroyer stated. "We have been building toward this day since the last minute of last season. Heading into the season, I am happy with the progress we have made as a program and I believe that will translate into success.
"During the first few days of practice we will focus on the meat and potatoes, if you will, of our offense and defense, with things like our motion offense and man-to-man defense. We will then start implementing some more specific parts, like set plays, specific defenses and out-of-bounds plays. The closer we get to our first game, we will begin working on game-time situations with time and score.
"Through the offseason, this group has shown an ability to pick things up faster than any other team we've had in the past. Because of that, I think we will be able to get more done during our preseason and be more prepared when we open the season on Nov. 6."
This season, the Cowboys will be led by five returning starters including Desmar Jackson, JayDee Luster, Afam Muojeke, Djibril Thiam and Adam Waddell. The Pokes also return letterwinners Arthur Bouedo, Daylen Harrison, Amath M'Baye and Rob Watsabaugh.
Jackson and Muojeke have been two of the top freshmen in the country over the past two seasons. Back in 2008-09, Muojeke was the Mountain West Conference's Freshman of the Year and was one of only 34 freshmen in the nation to be selected as an All-Freshman by Collegehoops.net. Last season, Jackson was named to the MWC's Third Team and was one of only 20 freshmen in the nation selected as a Freshman All-American by CollegeInsider.com.
After missing the final 11 games of last season with a knee injury, Muojeke has been cleared to play and the coaching staff plans to bring him along slowly.
Coach Schroyer and the Cowboys are thrilled about the addition of five newcomers-Francisco (Paco) Cruz, Brian Gibson, Joe Hudson, Luke Martinez and Leonard Washington. Cruz and Martinez each ranked in the top 25 of the nation in junior college in scoring last season, while Gibson was the nation's top junior college rebounder. Hudson averaged 23.6 points a game last season for Escondido High School in San Diego, Calif. Washington, who was the 54th-ranked recruit in the nation coming out of high school, spent the past two seasons at USC. He will sit out this season but have two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2011-12 season.
"I think our four new guys are the right fit for our program," Schroyer added. "All three of the guards (Luke, Paco and Joe) can really shoot the ball and that addresses a major need for us. Brian brings a toughness to our inside game, especially on the glass where we need to improve.
"Of our three recruiting classes here, I think this year we did our best job of getting guys who compliment what we already have. We have a lot of playmakers in guys like Afam, Desmar, Djibril, JayDee and Amath. We wanted to compliment those guys with high IQ, skilled guys who can stretch defenses by knocking down shots. I really like the blend of guys we have this year."
The first Cowboy basketball practice that will be open to the public will take place on Mon., Oct. 18 beginning at 4 p.m.