Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt described the start of his Friday’s first of 10 allotted days to prepare for next month’s four-game exhibition trip to Canada as a “mini-camp.”
The Cowboys get 10 days, not 10 practices, to get ready for this trip. Shyatt said he may have five practices in a day. Of course he was joking, but he put his team through about a 2 1/2 hour practice Friday morning at the Arena-Auditorium. UW also practices Saturday and Sunday, July 23-24 and July 31-Aug. 4. The Canadian tour begins Aug. 5.
“We’ll have some fun this weekend,” said Shyatt with a wry grin prior to Friday’s pracitce.
Some observations from this practice:
–Senior forward Leonard Washington practiced and is scheduled to make the trip if he continues to follow the plan set by Shyatt and athletics director Tom Burman. Washington is still suspended due to two separate incidents since the end of the 2011-12 season.
–Senior Derrious Gilmore looks poised to take over the point guard duties. He looks comfortable and confident. Sophomores Shakir Smith and Riley Grabau and true freshman Josh Adams seem to have their moments, but aren’t where Gilmore is.
–Sophomore forward Derek Cooke showed his athleticism numerous times. He’s still learning, but the ability is there.
–Wish Alabama transfer Charles Hankerson Jr. could play this season. NCAA transfer rules won’t allow it, and he won’t go to Canada because of that. But he can practice and looks good — good skills, athletic, good feel for the game.
–You probably want to know who is going to score for this team other than Washington and senior guard Luke Martinez. Good question because the team isn’t working a lot of offense right now. It’s all about defense. Junior-college guard Nate Sobey is another good shooter. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. could be at or close to a double-digit average scorer. Gilmore should be more of a scorer at the point than JayDee Luster. Other than that, the question remains.
–Really hard to see what the season will look like at this point as Shyatt and his staff are doing so much teaching. Guys like Washington, Martinez and Gilmore get it — as do some of the younger guys who were on the roster last season. But for the seven new players, they are still swimming. But while there is a lot of youth, I see a more athletic team than last season. Not sure what that will translate into when the season rolls around.
For more, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.