Carlson on Rimington Trophy watch list

Wyoming junior center Nick Carslon is one of 42 players recently named to the Rimington Trophy watch list as college football’s best center.

Carslon started in all 12 games at center last season, was an Honorable Mention All-MWC pick and has started in 20 of 21 games in his career. He played guard as a true freshman.

Carlson is one of four MWC centers on the watch list. The others are: Boise State senior Thomas Byrd, New Mexico sophomore Dillon Farrell and Colorado State sophomore Weston Richburg.

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Here is the release from Wyoming on the signing of five high school recruits, including Cheyenne Central’s Austin Breckenridge and Buffalo’s Jace Jensen. With the addition of these two recruits, UW has seven in-state kids on its roster

http://tinyurl.com/44qgnnm

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Saw Wyoming track & field coach Don Yentes at the state track meet last Saturday in Casper. He had to like what he saw from Powell’s Kyle Sullivan, who signed with the Cowboys recently. Powell won both hurdle events, was on the winning 4×400 relay and was second in the high jump. Wyoming is looking at him to be a decathlete, and he seems to have the versatility to be a pretty good one.

Yentes also should be excited about the signing of Karen Koritnik of Lovell. The senior set a new Class 2A record at the state meet in the long jump (17-10 1/2). She also won the triple jump (36-3 1/4) and 300 hurdles (46.51). And she won those events in dominating fashion.

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It’s pretty quiet sports-wise at UW right now, but athletes are coming back for summer school sessions and voluntary summer workouts. Was told that true freshman QB Adam Pittser would be in Laramie this month to get a head start on his workouts and preparating for fall camp.

There are rumblings that there might be another UW men’s basketball player leave the program. No news as of yet and not changes on the roster listed on UW’s athletics website. However, that roster also doesn’t list junior forward Brian Gibson, who new coach Larry Shyatt said recently he didn’t expect to come back but didn’t rule out the possiblity of him returning. Gibson missed last season’s MWC Tournament and didn’t return to school after that for personal reasons.

Schroyer talks about negativity

Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer wasn’t happy his team lost 69-62 at home to No. 8 Brigham Young Wednesday.

But he was pleased with the effort from his team, and the overall execution.

UW held BYU to 15 points below its scoring average, and caused senior point guard Jimmer Fredette to have his worst shooting game of the season. He was 7 of 21 from the field, but 10 of 11 from the line including a huge three-point play with 47.6 seconds to play.

The Cowboys are 8-14 overall, have lost six in a row and are in last place in the MWC at 1-7.

Not a lot to be positive about, despite a gutsy effort tonight.

“It’s been a very negative environment around this program for a month, and that’s been very taxing on these kids,” Schroyer said. “I’m really proud of them and how they came out tonight and really executed.”

“There’s been a lot of things that’s been out of this team’s control for a year and a half. When your limited on who you can play in practice and who you  an play in a game, and the league becomes the fourth-best league in the country, you’re going to struggle at times.

“I’m proud of our guys. This is a high-character group and has stuck together. It’s just very unfortunate the negativity that has surrouned this program for a month. It is what it is. Our kids have really battled and stayed together.”

Any thoughts on that?

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Some other notes and quotes from the game:

–“I didn’t really get it going, our team didn’t really get it going great tonight, but we were able to get a win,” Fredette said. “Sometimes you just don’t play well. We didn’t shoot the ball well (40.7 percent and 5 of 24 from 3-point range) and Wyoming was ready to play and had a great game plan.”

–Schroyer said BYU sophomore forward Brandon Davies is “next pro” on the Cougars’ roster. He was good against UW with 20 points and nine rebounds.

–Schroyer said junior center Adam Waddell had an MRI on his foot prior to the game Wednesday. Waddell played, but only 11 minutes off the bench with no points and three rebounds. Kind of weird to have an MRI the same day you play a game, isn’t it? Would hate to see another injury setback for Waddell.

–Schroyer also said sophomore forward Brian Gibson didn’t play due to back spasms.

–“I kept emploring our team to don’t play not to lose, we have to play to win. I thought we did that. I can’t fault our effort,” Schroyer said.

–Senior forward Djibril Thiam scored 12 points for his first double-digit scoring game in league play this season. He also had three blocked shots and is now tied for ninth place in school history with 82.

–Junior guard Francisco Cruz matched a career-high with 16 points and had a career-best nine rebounds. More impressively, he played all 40 minutes for the fourth time this season.

–The attendance of 5,131 was the first over 5,000 for UW this season, and largest of the season as well. There were times where the crowd was really into the game. I also noticed more BYU fans than normal. Many of them waited after the game to get Fredette’s autograph.

For more on this game, a complete recap of football signing day and an interesting historical piece on UW men’s hoops by Bob Hammond see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com.

Schroyer talks San Diego State

Talked with Wyoming men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer for about 10 minutes this morning about the Cowboys’ game Saturday at No. 4 San Diego State, and the Aztecs’ 71-58 loss at No. 9 Brigham Young Wednesday night in Provo.

I don’t know about you, but that was a heckuva game.

Schroyer said SDSU has an “NBA-type front line” with the likes of sophomore Kawhi Leonard, seniors Malcolm Thomas and Billy White and junior Brian Carlwell.

“This is the best team the Aztecs have ever put out on the floor,” Schroyer added.

Despite the loss Schroyer was impressed with SDSU’s defense and it held BYU to 14 points below its scoring average, despite 43 points from senior guard Jimmer Fredette.

When asked about Fredette, the nation’s leading scorer and who comes to Laramie Wednesday to play the Pokes, Schroyer said: “Jimmer’s one of those guys that comes around once every so often. I think he’s the best player in college basketball.”

Schroyer said his team needs to rebound the ball better after UW was outrebounded 40-26 in its 74-65 home loss to UNLV Tuesday. Schroyer said his guards need to be more involved in rebounding.

Schroyer liked the minutes that senior Djibril Thiam and sophomore Brian Gibson played together in the post against the Rebels, and that combination could see more minutes at San Diego State, especially to help in rebounding. Gibson’s specialty is rebounding, and is fourth on the team (3.3 rpg). His 27 offensive boards are the third-most on the team.

UW-Air Force postgame thoughts

Can it get any worse for the Wyoming men’s basketball team?

Yes it can.

The Cowboys lost 72-51 at Air Force Saturday afternoon at Clune Arena, and the same problems reared their ugly heads: offense and perimter defense.

UW shot just 37.9 percent from the field, and allowed Air Force to make 11 of 19 3s. The Cowboys got to the free-throw line six times and were 4 of 23 from 3-point range.

“We flew at the shooters and they made some contested shots,” UW coach Heath Schroyer said. “I thought our kids played pretty hard. … But when you get down against them, they can hit a couple of 3 that will break your back.”

UW trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, and 23 late in the game.

Six of Air Force’s 3s came from the corner, which seems like nearly ever 3 is made from by the opponents. This continues to be a problem in UW’s zone defense, but Schroyer and Co. is sticking with the zone. I didn’t see any man-to-man defense in this game, and you would think this would be a game where UW physically matches up a little better than other squads in the MWC.

I thought sophomore forward Amath M’Baye had a nice game with 13 points and seven rebounds. He looked good around the basket. And sophomore forward Brian Gibson had six rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench. he missed three shots in the paint. But he plays hard and he can rebound.

I was really impressed with Air Force sophomore guard Michael Lyons. He led all scorers with 17 points, all in the first half. He’s long and athletic and a pretty good athlete. Senior guard Evan Washington may have had the most impressive line: 11 points, nine assists, six rebounds, one blocked shot and only one turnover in 36 minutes. Sophomore guard Todd Fletcher, who averaged 4.6 points per game coming in, scored 13 and was 3 of 6 from behind the arc.

Seems like a lot of players have career games against the Cowboys these days.

Injuries weren’t a factor in this game for UW. Everyone played who should have played. The Cowboys just got beat, and beat bad.

Hate to think what UNLV, No. 6 San Diego State and No. 9 BYU will do to this team in the next three games.

For more on the Air Force game, see Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com

Quick turnaround for UW hoops

There isn’t much time for the Wyoming men’s basketball team to think about its 67-53 loss at Northern Colorado Tuesday night in Greeley.

UW hosts North Florida Thursday and Western Illinois Saturday — both at 7 p.m. — at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie as part of the Cancun Challenge tournament. Next week the Cowboys play Missouri and LaSalle in Cancun.

Will be interesting to see how UW bounces back. It was disappointing to see it start out down 31-4 and playing awful basketall in the first 11 minutes at Northern Colorado. Fans are already getting impatient (see some of the comments from the live blog last night) and only two games have been played.

Seems to me UW is still trying to seek roles for players, and that’s harder when two of your better players — junior forward Afam Muojeke and junior center Adam Waddell are still hampered by injuries. Then again, two games into the season usually isn’t when you identify those roles, but the Cowboys seemed all out of sorts against UNC.

I thought sophomore post Brian Gibson played with the most effort. He pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. I would think he earned some more playing time as UW’s other post players combined for 10 boards.

The Cowboys also need better play from their point guards. Sophomore Desmar Jackson and junior JayDee Luster combined for 12 points, seven assists and six turnovers. Jackson struggled early and UNC simply got into Luster defensively and neutralized him. If UNC can do that, most if all of UW’s opponents from here on out can and will.

I liked the way junior guard Francisco Cruz shot the ball (4 of 6 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range). He has difficulty creating his own shot off the dribble. UW was only 6 of 23 from 3-point range and shooters like Cruz and freshman Joe Hudson were supposed to help. Hudson was 1 of 6.

And, Muojeke still is a long way from being back to his old form after his knee injury last season. He just seems a step or two off and the confidence just isn’t there. It wasn’t expected to be at this point and that was reaffirmed Tuesday in Greeley.

The weather and road closures prevented UW from gettnig back to Laramie until sometime late this morning or early in the afternoon. Wonder how that will effect their prep time for Thursday. We will check on that.

Here is a link from photographer AAron Ontiveroz of some photos from the UNC game http://blogs.wyomingnews.com/blogs/shutterspeed/2010/11/17/wyoming-vs-northern-colorado/

Join me for our weekly live chat at 3 p.m. Thursday on UW sports. Check back to the blog for the link.