I was fortunate to vote on this, and I had four of the five players on both the first and second teams, including UW junior forward Leonard Washington. He’s UW’s highest All-MW pick since senior guard Brandon Ewing made the first team in 2008-09.
I didn’t vote for senior point guard JayDee Luster as the Defensive Player of the Year, but it was well-deserved. When coach Larry Shyatt says he’s the best defender he’s coached in his 40 years on the job, that really says something.
Mark Smith of the Albuquerque Journal covers New Mexico men’s basketball. He answered five questions I had for him on Saturday’s game with Wyoming:
The Lobos have won four straight and have looked good doing so. Are they playing their best basketball of the season and what in particular have they done well during this winning streak? They are certainly playing their best ball of the season. The guard play has been flat-out terrific, which obviously helps the inside game. The thing that makes the Lobos so potent is the depth at guard. It’s tough for the opposition to focus on any one, two or three of the sharp-shooters they have.
It actually took a lot for Wyoming to lose 72-62 to New Mexico Saturday afternoon in Laramie.
UW had to go seven minutes in the second half without scoring and nearly 12 minutes with only two baskets.
New Mexico needed to shoot 52.3 percent from the field and 8 of 14 from 3-point range to win. Six of those treys came from guys who normally are reserves. Sophomore Jamal Fenton started at point guard, but only because of an injury to freshman Hugh Greenwood. Fenton had three 3s. Senior Phillip McDonald, a 1,000-point scorer, came off the bench and made two 3s, both in the second half to help the Lobos extend their lead.
UW also missed eight layups according to the shot chart.
What’s the biggest thing the Wyoming men’s basketball team must do to have a chance to beat New Mexico today?
Big play from the bigs: Wyoming must get good efforts from junior forward Leonard Washington and senior center Adam Waddell. Both need to play well offensively and defensively, but also need to avoid foul trouble and stay on the floor against New Mexico seniors Drew Gordon and A.J. Hardeman. Freshman Larry Nance Jr. and senior walk-on Rob Watsabaugh also need to play well for UW, but it starts with Washington and Waddell.
What do you think? I have four other keys for the Cowboys in today’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, along with an interesting look at how UW forward Leonard Washington and New Mexico’s Drew Gordon took similar paths to where they are today.
As I did during football season, I hope to do question-and-answer swaps with beat writers that cover Mountain West men’s basketball. Since Wyoming opens leauge play with New Mexico Saturday, I got with Mark Smith of the Albuquerque Journal and we both exchanged five questions and answers.
The following are my questions for Mark, who by the way is one of the best in the business, and his answers. See Friday’s blog for my answers to his questions.
The Wyoming men’s basketball team was picked sixth in the Mountain West preseason media poll. No big surprise there, and that’s where I picked the Pokes in my poll.
New Mexico received 22 of the 26 first-place votes. UNLV received the other four. I thought the Rebels would get a few more first-place votes. Perhaps a change in coaches from Lon Kruger to Dave Rice contributed to that.