Initial thoughts of UW men’s hoops

It was nice to break out of football mode for a couple of hours Thursday night to watch the Wyoming men’s basketball team. The Cowboys easily defeated Division II Chadron State 75-50 in front of a packed house of 1,187 at Eastern Wyoming College.

After a slow start for UW, the game was never in doubt, which is what you would expect in an exhibition game.

First, here is first-year UW coach Allen Edwards after the game:

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Moemeka turning heads in summer workouts for UW hoops

I talked to first-year Wyoming men’s basketball coach Allen Edwards for about 15 minutes earlier this week about the Cowboys’ trip to the Bahamas Aug. 8-13. In case you missed the story on that, here’s the link: http://www.wyosports.net/university_of_wyoming/mens_basketball/uw-men-s-hoops-looks-to-benefit-from-trip-to/article_7c93ab8a-5ac7-11e6-89a0-73d6349d4122.html

Andrew Moemeka

Andrew Moemeka

When I asked Edwards if any individuals stood out during summer workouts, or the practices leading up to the Bahamas trip, he said he could give positives on just about every player. However, one player Edwards liked was redshirt freshman forward Andrew Moemeka. Edwards didn’t say a lot about Moemeka, but he did say he has “made progress” from his redshirt year and has given UW “a nice presence in the paint.”

Senior guard Jason McManamen and junior forward Alan Herndon both were redshirted by UW, and now they are two of UW’s best players heading into the season. Redshirt years benefitted them, and they’ve noticed a difference so far in Moemeka this summer coming off his redshirt year.

“Moe has stood out,” Herndon said. “He’s tall (6-8) and athletic. He’s worked on his game a lot during the redshirt year, just like I did. That was an important year for him last year.”

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Cowboys say they will be more focused in regular-season opener

I don’t think anyone felt good about Wyoming’s 77-69 overtime loss to Division II Fort Lewis last Saturday.

Yes, it was an exhibition game. Even though the Cowboys’ three best players — senior guard Josh Adams, junior guard Jason McManamen and sophomore forward Alan Herndon — didn’t play the last 15 minutes or so based on the decision coach Larry Shyatt made earlier in the week, there was a level of disappointment.

Talking to the players this week, they seem determined that won’t happen Friday when the Cowboys open the regular season against Bristol University out of Anaheim, California.

Alan Herndon

Alan Herndon

“Increased focus,” said Herndon on what practice has been like so far this week. “Coaches have been more on edge. We know we have to prepare a lot better. We know we have to prepare and respect every single team we play no mater what their name is.”

Added McManamen: “It was tough. You don’t want to lose any game no mater who you’re playing. We have to learn from it. It will make us hungrier for this game Friday. We’re going to be ready.”

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UW men’s basketball signs four in 2014-15 recruiting class

Here is a list of the four players the Wyoming men’s basketball team signed Wednesday:

G Austin Conway, 5-10, 165, Overland HS, Aurora, Colorado

F Justin James, 6-7, 180, Oldsmar Christian School, Port Saint Lucie, Florida

F Andrew Moemeka, 6-8, 200, Oldsmar Christian School, Lake City, Florida

F/C Jordan Naughton, 6-10, 220, Etiwanda HS, Rancho Cucamonga, California

This class addressed immediate needs from the 1-5 positions for UW, and it still has one scholarship left to give.

Here is video highlights from Conway’s junior year, who was the first to commit in this class back on July 1:


James was the last to commit in mid-September, and UW beat out Mississippi State to get him. A player Cowboys coach Larry Shyatt said can play four different positions on the floor, including point guard. Here are his junior highlights:


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UW men’s hoops adds key piece to 2014-15 recruiting class

The verbal commitment of 6-foot-7 versatile guard/forward Justin James may have capped off the best recruiting class the Wyoming men’s basketball program has landed in recent memory.

Granted, all five players committed must sign, and all are supposed to during the early signing period in November.

Here is the full list:

G Austin Conway, 5-10, 165, Overland HS, Aurora, Colorado

F Justin James, 6-7, 180, Oldsmar Christian School, Port Saint Lucie, Florida

F Andrew Moemeka, 6-8, Oldsmar Christian School, Lake City, Florida

F/C Jordan Naughton, 6-10, 220, Etiwanda HS, Rancho Cucamonga, California

F Eric Turner, 6-5, 193, The Villages HS, The Villages, Florida

The class seems to address the future needs of the program. Conway is regarded as one of the quickest point guards in the region — and perhaps in the country. James said Conway is “crazy fast” when I talked to him on the phone Monday.

Turner, who averaged nearly 24 points per game as a junior in high school, seems like a good scorer along the wing. Moemeka and Naughton add size.

Justin James

Justin James

James is the wildcard here because he has played the 1, 2 and 3 spots in high school, and his coaches think he may be able to do that at UW. Whether he does or not remains to be seen, but his versatility is what stands out, and what has made programs like San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico so good in the Mountain West in recent years is players who can play numerous spots on the floor.

Wyoming has not had a lot of players like that in the most recent past.

Here are some video highlights of James as a junior in high school to give you a taste of what I’m talking about:

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