Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams doesn’t like to lose, and he often takes it hard and personally.
In UW’s 78-72 overtime loss to California last Saturday in Laramie, Adams missed a free throw with 32 seconds left that would have given the Cowboys a one-point lead.
There were several plays before and after that which played big roles in UW losing the game. Still, it was tough on Adams.
“This team competed as hard as I’ve seen them compete,” he said. “The ball bounced (Cal’s) way. They made a few more plays than we did. I’m heartbroken for this team. They left everything out there, and I couldn’t get it done for them.”
Adams has did just about everything for UW (5-3) this season. He’s fourth in the country in scoring (24.9 ppg). Adams leads the Cowboys with 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. At 6-foot-2, Adams is second on the team with 4.9 rebounds per contest, and is tied for the most defensive rebounds on the team with 29.
And, despite missing that free throw against Cal, Adams leads the Pokes at an 80.9 percent clip at the free-throw line.
It’s no surprise as UW’s only senior that Adams is among the team leaders in virtually everything. He’s also one of the team’s toughest players. He went down late in regulation with an ankle injury, but came back and played.
Adams said Monday the ankle is fine and he will be good to go when UW hosts Southern at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Adams finished the Cal game with 32 points — his second 30-point game of the season. Without Adams, UW wouldn’t have had a chance against Cal, and may not have the five wins it does now.
After the Cal game, coach Larry Shyatt was asked about Adams’ effort and simply said: “I wouldn’t make a trade.”
Adams’ teammates had a little more to say, but it was along the same lines as their coach.
“I’m glad he’s on my team. I will take him over anybody into battle any day. I’m glad he’s our leader,” junior guard Jason McManamen said.
Added sophomore forward Jonathan Barnes: “I couldn’t be prouder of Josh. He’s been put in a position not many people have been put into. Going from a championship team to a very green team. For him to do what he’s done and be able to inspire us is something I’ve never seen. I’m blessed to play with him every single day. He’s a catalyst. He’s the one that bonds us all together. He’s done a fantastic job of doing that.”
The first thing Shyatt said to the media after the Cal game was that he wrote one thing down on the board in UW’s locker room after the loss — Southern — meaning it was time to move on to the next game.
Adams feels like he and the rest of the team will do that, and there won’t be any sort of hangover from the Cal loss.
“We’re going to be just fine because we have a good mentor in coach Shyatt,” he said. “He’s embodied the same thing ever since I’ve been here, and that’s on to the next game. You can’t get too high on wins and too low on losses.”
Be sure to check out Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net, for more on UW’s game with Southern and how Barnes is showing progress in the post in just his second season with UW — and fourth playing competitive basketball.