Nov. 1, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 2005-06 college basketball season begins for the Wyoming Cowboys on Wednesday, Nov. 2 when they host Colorado State-Pueblo in an exhibition game. The contest is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. from Wyoming's Arena-Auditorium.
Wyoming will be led by four seniors in Justin Williams, Derek Wabbington, Kevin Lewis and James Ebert. Williams was the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year a year ago. He set a new MWC single-season blocked shot record as a junior, with 81 blocks. He also ranked No. 11 in the NCAA in blocked shots. Williams is expected to miss this week's game versus Colorado State-Pueblo with a slightly sprained knee. He will be joined on the frontline by Wabbington, who got better and better in his first season a year ago. Lewis will be one of the potential starters at the small-forward spot. He led Wyoming in three-point shooting last season, hitting 42.1 percent from the arc. Ebert is the other senior who is expected to contribute with his strong defense and outside shooting.
Other veterans returning include juniors Chris Anderson and Steve Leven. Both will play key roles for the Pokes this season. Anderson brings a very athletic player to the court for the Cowboys. Leven had a couple of 20-point games a year ago before he suffered knee and ankle injuries that slowed him for much of the year.
Two young players who have been part of the Cowboy program but have been limited by injuries are sophomore center Jarrod Boswell and redshirt freshman Bienvenu Songondo. Boswell sat out his true freshman season two years ago with a knee injury, and saw limited action last season. Songondo redshirted last season in an attempt to rehab a knee injury he suffered in prep school. He played with the Central African Republic national team this past summer. If those two individuals can stay healthy, the Cowboy frontcourt would be very deep in talent.
A number of new faces could play prominent roles on this year's team. A total of seven newcomers join the six lettermen and two other returnees to make up Wyoming's 15-man roster. Freshman point guard Brandon Ewing, from Chicago, followed former Wyoming great and fellow Chicago native Jay Straight to Wyoming. Ewing is a likely starter at the point-guard position in his freshman season. Four other true freshmen, small forward Ross Forman; power forward Ike Okoye; center Travis Nelson; and guard Parker Emerson are all exciting young players who have a chance to contribute for Wyoming immediately. Two junior-college transfers who have Cowboy coaches feeling good about the upcoming season are guard Brandon Jones and forward/center Daaron Brown. Their talents and junior-college experience should enable them to make a quick transition to the Division I level.
Following Wednesday's exhibition game, Wyoming will play one other exhibition on Tuesday, Nov. 8 against Chadron State. That game will also tip off at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.
The regular-season for the Cowboys begins on Sunday, Nov. 13 when Wyoming hosts the prestigious Black Coaches Association (BCA) Invitational. The tournament will run for three days, Nov. 13-15, with four games being played each day. The eight teams participating will include: perennial NCAA participant Butler, 2005 NCAA participant Charlotte, Northwestern from the Big Ten Conference, Alabama State, Coppin State, Lehigh, UNC-Wilmington and Wyoming.