Thoughts on UW men’s basketball schedule for 2015-16

The Mountain West released its conference schedule for men’s basketball Wednesday morning, and not long after that Wyoming released its entire schedule for the upcoming season.

Here is a link to the Cowboys’ schedule: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/wyo/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/2014-15/misc_non_event/2015-16_mbb_schedule.pdf

First, some thoughts of the conference slate:

–I’m not a fan of the Cowboys playing New Mexico and Utah State once apiece. UW will play at New Mexico and gets Utah State at home. Missing a trip to Utah State isn’t the worst thing in the world as the Spectrum in Logan is one of the toughest places to play in the MW. But the league needs to keep regional rivalries in place the best it can on a home-and-home basis. Who cares if UW plays, for instance, Nevada or San Jose State once — home or away. Not getting New Mexico at home will hurt UW’s overall attendance numbers as that normally is a good draw whether the game is in the middle of the week or on a weekend. Games in Logan against Utah State are good because it gives fans in the western part of the state a chance to go see the Cowboys play.

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Shyatt contract extension still in the works

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

On April 22, Wyoming announced it was in negotiations with men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt on a contract extension.

More than a month later — 40 days to be exact — and there has been no announcement on a contract extension, but negotiations are still on going.

“We are still a ways away, both Larry and I have been traveling a bunch. Hopefully we will get something final before the middle of July,” UW athletics director Tom Burman said via text message Monday.

“We will get it done. We just need to work the details with (Shyatt’s) representatives as well as (UW’s legal staff).”

Tom Burman

Tom Burman

Burman would not comment on specifics about the negotiations, but if this were simply an extension for Shyatt it likely wouldn’t have taken this long. Security and/or incentives for his assistant coaches could be one of the areas that is being negotiated.

Shyatt has a 103-80 record at UW. The Cowboys went 25-10 last season, won its first-ever Mountain West Tournament title and played in its first NCAA Tournament since 2002.

Early predictions for UW and Mountain West football

Wyoming is less than 100 days from kickoff to the 2015 season when it opens the season at home against North Dakota on Sept. 5.

We are about two months before the start of fall camp. Yet, several college football preview magazines recently hit the newsstands predicting what will happen this season.

Here are a few notes regarding UW and the Mountain West.

–The Cowboys were picked to finish fifth in the Mountain Division by Lindy’s and Athlon, while The Sporting News picked them fourth.

Eddie Yarbrough

Eddie Yarbrough

–The only First Team All-MW player for UW by all three publications was senior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough. Lindy’s ranked Yarbrough as the third-best NFL prospect in the MW behind Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins and San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey — both juniors.

–Junior offensive lineman Chase Roullier was a first team pick by The Sporting News, and was a second team choice by the other two. Senior running back Shaun Wick was a second team pick by Athlon.

–Lindy’s chose UW senior quarterback Cameron Coffman as the MW’s Newcomer of the Year.

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Nance Jr. to roll up frequent flyer miles working out for NBA teams

I talked with former Wyoming men’s basketball forward Larry Nance Jr. Tuesday about his recent experience at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, and his pending interviews/workouts with NBA teams.

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

Nance, who has been based in Chicago the last couple of months, left for San Antonio Tuesday and has a workout with the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday.

Next week, he begins a whirl-wind tour of the country as he has workouts scheduled with Philadelphia, Boston, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Minnesota, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Lakers. Nance said he also hopes to get a workout with the Los Angeles Clippers.

“From what I understand right now, each team has their own way,” said Nance on what he expects from work outs with different NBA teams.

“San Antonio, I’ve heard, is very structured but laid-back. As long as you’re going as hard as you can and following their structure, they’re not looking to kill you. I’ve heard other teams like Cleveland run you to death to see how you respond to that. I know what I do well and I’m going to stick to that.”

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ESPN networks to carry MW football championship game

ESPN and the Mountain West have reached an agreement for rights to the conference’s annual football championship game, enhancing an existing multimedia pact through the 2019-20 season.

The MW title game, played at the site of the divisional champion with the highest College Football Playoff Selection Committee ranking, will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 every season, beginning with the 2015 matchup on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. MT on ESPN2.

The football title contest adds to an extensive deal, which began with the 2013 season, that provides ESPN with exclusive worldwide rights to televise up to 16 Mountain West football games, plus every Boise State home game, as well as up to 31 conference-controlled men’s basketball games annually.

According to the contract with the MW and ESPN, MW football teams that have regular-season games carried on ESPN or ESPN2 during the regular season receive appearance bonuses. If games are televised on Saturdays, each team receives a $500,000 appearance bonus. If the games are on days other than Saturday, they get $300,000.

A spokesperson from the MW office said Friday that there will be no appearances bonuses for teams that play in the MW championship game.

CBS televised last year’s title game, and the game was played at 8:15 p.m. MT — not good for fans or TV ratings.

A late afternoon kickoff is much better for everyone involved. ESPN exposure is always a good thing, although the appearance bonuses would have been even nicer for the schools involved.

Overall, this is a good move for the MW. What do you think, folks?

 

Nance Jr. measures up at NBA Draft Combine

Former Wyoming men’s basketball player (kind of sounds weird to read that, doesn’t it) Larry Nance Jr. is currently at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and will be there through the weekend.

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

Similar to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, players go through a wide range of sport-specific tests. With the NBA Draft Combine, players also will play games for scouts and NBA team officials to watch, and interviews will be held.

Here are some of Nance’s specifics:

Height without shoes: 6-7 1/2

Height with shoes: 6-8 1/2

Weight: 226.6

Body fat percentage: 6.4

Hand length: 9.0 inches

Hand width: 9.75 inches

Standing reach: 9 feet

Wingspan: 7-feet, 1.5 inches

Lane agility time: 10.89 seconds

Shuttle run: 3.01 seconds

3/4-court sprint: 3.25 seconds

Standing vertical jump: 29 inches

Maximum vertical jump: 37.5 inches. That tied for the best jump among all power forwards at the combine.

Here’s the link to all the measurables for all the players at this year’s NBA Draft Combine:
http://stats.nba.com/draftcombine/#!/anthro/?ls=iref:nba:specialst3b

Nance played in the Combine’s first 5-on-5 game Thursday afternoon, and finished with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 21 minutes. He was 3 of 6 from the field and had five offensive rebounds. Nance was 2 of 7 from the free-throw line, which is uncharacteristic of him as he was well over a 70 percent free-throw shooter at UW.

Friday, Nance had four points, seven rebounds (four offensive), four turnovers and three fouls. He was 2 of 5 from the field.

Nance received some high praise from the broadcast team from ESPN2 during Thursday’s game. Friday, ESPN’s Fran Frachilla said he thinks Nance will be drafted in the second round, but may spend some time in the NBA’s Developmental League..

Nance will not be with four of his senior teammates in Laramie this weekend for graduation ceremonies. However, UW sent this picture of those guys along with coach Larry Shyatt.

From left to right, Jack Bentz, Charles Hankerson Jr., Derek Cooke Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau pose with coach Larry Shyatt as all five Wyoming men's basketball seniors will receive their degrees this weekend. Photo from UW.

From left to right, Jack Bentz, Charles Hankerson Jr., Derek Cooke Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau pose with coach Larry Shyatt as all five Wyoming men’s basketball seniors will receive their degrees this weekend. Photo from UW.

UW football to be on national TV six times in 2015

Wyoming’s football game at San Diego State on Saturday, Nov. 14 will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. MT.

The Mountain West released its football schedule of Saturday games that will be televised by CBS Sports Network and ESPN’s family of networks.

UW’s games at Air Force on Saturday, Oct. 10, versus Nevada Saturday, Oct. 17, at Boise State Saturday, Oct. 24 and versus Colorado State Nov. 7 will be carried on ESPN’s family of networks. However, which network and times for those games have yet to be determined.

If any of those games are televised on ESPN or ESPN2, UW and its opponent will receive a $500,000 appearance bonus per the Mountain West’s national television contract.

UW’s game at Utah State will be played on Friday, Oct. 30 and carried by ESPN2. Both schools will receive a $300,000 appearance bonus.

Question now is will UW get any more appearance bonuses for those games against Air Force, Nevada, Boise State and Colorado State. And, what will be the times for those games?

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Some final UW spring football notes, quotes and video

Some observations and quotes from Wyoming’s spring football game Saturday in Laramie.

–The hit of the game came in the first half when redshirt freshman free safety Chavez Pownell Jr. drilled junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry over the middle. Pownell was penalized for targeting, which could lead to an ejection in a real game. As a learning lesson, UW coach Craig Bohl had Pownell sit the rest of the game.

Tanner Gentry

Tanner Gentry

“I looked up for the ball and he made a really good hit,” Gentry said. “He put his helmet right in my chest. It didn’t feel too good, but he made a good play on the ball and it was a good hit. There was nothing dirty about it.”

Gentry was shaken up on the play, but he came back and played the second half. He led the Gold team with five catches for 62 yards.

Added Pownell: “The quarterback was looking down Tanner, I knew the post was coming so I ended up breaking on the play and it was just football after that. We did all this hard work during the spring and winter conditioning so I just wanted to play.”

–Gentry was one of only three wide receivers who caught passes in the spring game for either team. Junior Jake Maulhardt sat out with a sprained shoulder. “I feel like we have a lot of work to do, for sure,” Gentry said. “We definitely have to get better. I feel like we progressed pretty well this spring. We have to have a great summer.”

UW has four true freshmen receivers that join the team this summer.

Here is Bohl talking with the media after the spring game.


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UW spring football game live chat replay

Here’s the replay of WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s live chat during the University of Wyoming’s spring football game on Saturday, April 25.

The Brown team defeated the Gold 24-21 in front of an announced crowd of 1,375 at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Live Blog Wyoming spring football game live chat

Thornton gives his take on UW’s quarterbacks this spring

Wyoming junior Tom Thornton ended last season as the Cowboys’ backup quarterback.

Prior to the start of spring drills, Thornton was one of six scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. With a logjam there, UW moved him to wide receiver.

Tom Thornton

Tom Thornton

Thornton’s transition to receiver is still a work in progress, but he’s happy with the move. For more on that, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Earlier this week, I asked Thornton what he thought of the play of UW’s four quarterbacks this spring: senior Cameron Coffman, sophomore and junior college transfer Josh Allen, redshirt freshman Nick Smith and redshirt sophomore Aaron Young.

Coffman was named the starter earlier in spring drills. Allen is currently listed as the backup, followed by Smith and Young.

“I think they’re doing a great job. Going form last year to now, you can see their knowledge of the offense has improved.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

“Cam has looked fantastic. His accuracy is on point. His reads are on point. I think he’s goin to have an unbelievable year. Josh is doing well, but is the newest guy. He has an unbelievable arm. He needs to know when to tone it down a little bit. He threw a screen pass bout 90 miles an hour. He’s starting to pick up the offense. Nick’s is doing a solid job and Aaron is as well.”

Thornton also said that losing redshirt freshman Austin Fort “kind of sucks.” Fort was moved from quarterback to tight end last week. Soon after that, UW announced Fort will transfer.

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