Nov. 14, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. - University of Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt announced on Wednesday, Nov. 14, that two recruits have signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Cowboy men's basketball program. Keonta Vernon of Tulare, Calif., and Alan Herndon of Colorado Springs, Colo., will begin their UW careers during the 2013-14 academic year.
"These two young men have a lot in common in that they feel Wyoming is the right place at the right time for their future," Shyatt said. "They couldn't be more diverse in what they bring to the table, though, and that is what we are looking for. A lot of pieces that fit together and these two are a great fit. They visited our campus at the same time and their families really hit it off."
"Signing these two was a collective effort by Scott Duncan, Allen Edwards and Jeremy," Shyatt said. "They made sure we dotted the I's and crossed the T's and got two good young men who down the road can be excellent Mountain West student-athletes."
Wyoming will have two scholarships left for the late signing period in April. Below are biographies for UW's Fall 2012 signees.
Keonta Vernon - Forward - Tulare, Calif.
The 6'6", 215-pound Keonta Vernon has been a leader for highly-successful Tulare Union High School the past three seasons at his forward position. Under the direction of head coach Mark Hatton, Vernon has helped the Redskins go 79-13 since 2009-10 and sits just 300 points shy of the school's all-time scoring mark of 1,475 points entering his senior season.
As a junior in 2011-12, Vernon guided Tulare Union to the state title game thanks to averages of 19.0 points, 14.3 rebounds, 4.6 blocks and 3.0 assists per game. He scored a season-high 29 points twice and notched more than 20 points in 18 games. He had one triple-double during the season with 18 points, 11 blocks and 20 rebounds, en route to earning First Team All-Conference honors.
During Vernon's sophomore campaign in 2010-11, he averaged a double-double with 13.2 points and 12.4 rebounds to go with 3.7 blocks and 2.3 assists per game. He helped lead the Redskins to a 26-3 mark and berth in the state playoffs. As a freshman in 2009-10, Vernon was a part-time starter and helped Tulare Union go 24-4 with averages of 6.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
On the football field, Vernon is a dynamic wide receiver. During his senior season this fall, he caught 36 passes for 614 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games. He had three games with more than 120 receiving yards.
The past two summers Vernon's AAU team, California Double Pump Elite, has compiled a 44-2 record.
Shyatt on Vernon: "Keonta brings a level of intensity as an undersized forward that was eye opening all summer. Each time we saw him play, he competed so hard and his effort was so strong that he impacted the game with his effort alone. Not to speak of the future he may have in terms of his skill level. We have a lot of long, wiry young men in the program right now and to get somebody that is really a power player with great all-around athleticism is something you can't pass on."
A 6'8", 175-pound forward, Alan Herndon is the fifth Colorado native that UW head coach Larry Shyatt has signed since returning to the Cowboys in March of 2011. Herndon is entering his senior season under coach Brent Garretson at Widefield High School this year.
During his junior campaign in 2011-12, Herndon averaged 9.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, as the Gladiators went 11-14 in Class 4A. He notched three double-doubles, including a season-high 14 points and 11 rebounds against Harrison and added 11 points and 12 rebounds against Falcon. In a game against Cheyenne Mountain, he had 14 blocked shots. Herndon earned Honorable Mention All-Metro honors from the Colorado Springs Gazette and was Honorable Mention Academic All-State. As a sophomore, Herndon averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
Herndon's father Mike was a standout for VMI from 1982-85. He is still fourth in school history with 103 blocks and ninth in field goal percentage at 51.6 percent.
Herndon was also recruited by Colorado, Denver and Air Force.
Shyatt on Herndon: "Alan is a lean young man that I call a piece of spaghetti right now, but he is going to be a very good pasta. He has got great skills on the court and comes from a great basketball family background. He's got all the intangibles you look for, except Mother Nature has not taken her course yet physically so he is thin. He's got great hands, great instincts and he is also from an excellent family with a sound academic background. He's got the total package and will become a valuable asset these next four years."