Some fans have asked me recently what is up with Wyoming true freshman guard Alexander Aka Gorski and why he has not played much, especially in the Cowboys’ first few conference games.
Prior to the Cowboys’ game at Fresno State last Saturday, Aka Gorski played one minute in games against UNLV and Boise State.
But at Fresno State, Aka Gorski played eight minutes and hit his first shot — a 3-pointer — in UW’s 70-65 triple overtime victory. Most of those minutes, and his 3-pointer, came in the first half.
“He’s put himself in position (to play more) because he’s in great shape now, he’s healthier now and he does make shots at practice, which reminds you there’s a need to get him on the floor,” UW coach Larry Shyatt said Monday.
Aka Gorski fractured the middle finger on his left hand during fall practice. He missed UW’s first four games, but despite wearing a large splint, did see some playing time. The splint has been off for about a month now.
Aka Gorski is 20 years old, a native of Sweden and has played internationally at various levels for the Swedish national team. He has a level of maturity about him, as well as a smoothness on the court. At 6-foot-5, he is a bigger wing that can shoot.
Shyatt said Aka Gorski is in a group with true freshman point guard Jeremy Lieberman, senior point guard Jack Bentz and senior center Matt Sellers. Guys who work hard, do good things in practice and deserve to be on the floor in games. However, it doesn’t always work out that way depending on the game, match-ups and other situations.
“It’s hard to get guys in during league play where every possession is so important,” Shyatt said. “Every time (Aka Gorski) is on the floor, (junior guard) Josh Adams or (senior guard) Charles Hankerson are off it, or Hankerson or (redshirt sophomore guard) Jason McManamen, and those guys have played pretty good basketball.
“It’s about managing that, and our guys have had pretty good attitudes about it.”
I wouldn’t be surprised in Aka Gorski sees more playing time as conference play continues. As of now, UW has gone mostly with a seven-man rotation, with McManamen and redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon getting most of the minutes off the bench.
Shyatt mentioned an interview he saw from John Calipari, the coach at top-ranked Kentucky, over the weekend. There were times this season Calipari would bring in five players off the bench at a time to replace his starters. But Calipari said having a rotation of 10 or nine guys is too many for most teams. Eight is getting closer, seven is better and that 6.5 fits his team best.
Right now, seven seems to fit UW pretty well, but eight or nine should also work if guys like Aka Gorski can be productive — both offensively and defensively. You know that if Shyatt doesn’t see the effort defensively, minutes will be hard to come by.
What do you think, folks? Should UW be using its bench more, and do you think Shyatt will use his bench more as conference play continues?
For more on UW basketball, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.