Shyatt, new recruits talk

New Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt spoke to the media via teleconference for about 15 minutes Thursday about his three latest signees: 6-3  guard Riley Grabau, 6-11 center Lekan Ajayi and 5-9 junior-college point guard Derrious Gilmore. Grabau and Ajayi also joined the call.

Here are some quick hits from the call:

–Shyatt said he has one scholarship left, and hopes to get the best available athlete or a promising wing player/small forward. Shyatt said one recruit is mulling over whether or not to choose UW now, and there is a possiblitly a decision could come in the next five or six days. If not, then he said he will keep looking even if it goes into June.

–Shyatt said he doesn’t expect junior-to-be forward Brian Gibson to return next season. He left school prior to the MWC Tournament in March for personal reasons.

–Shyatt didn’t say if any of the other current players on the team will leave, but would know more in the next 10 days final exams wrap up. Said in the last few weeks the current group have been “punctual, on edge and have improved.”

–Although listed at 6-11, Shyatt said Ajayi is closer to 6-9, and said he would need “extra, extra thick shoes to be 6-11.” Shyatt described Ajayi as a “character.”

–Ajayi said he choose UW because of Shyatt and assistant Scott Duncan. He said Shyatt is like a father to him, and also that Shyatt recruited him while he was at Florida.

–On signing a 5-9 guard in Derrious Gilmore, who was not on the call: “I have never been opposed to having small guards at any postion as long as they’ve had that competitvness and and edge to them.”

–“I’ve probably only had four or five junior college players in 38 years. I’m probably going to get mor familiar in the days and weeks ahead,” Shyatt said.

–Ajayi is the nephew of former UW player Ugo Udezue, who was an influence on his decision. Ajayi feels he’s one of the best rebounders in the nation. He averaged 15.5 boards per game in high school. He said Virginia Tech, Alabama, Florida State, Georgetown, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Auburn and Missouri were among other schools that recruited him.

–“I want to help the Univeristy of Wyoming win championships. I’ll do anything for the University of Wyoming,” Ajayi said.

–Grabau said he didn’t know Shyatt prior to his recruitment, but said that after Shyatt’s first visit to his home, he looked to his dad and said: “he’s the man I want to play for.”

–Grabau said he didn’t sign in the fall because he wanted to focus on winning a state championship his senior year at Boulder High in Colorado. His team lost in the state championship game.

–Shyatt likened Grabau to former UW guard Brett McFall, who Shyatt recuited to UW back in the 1997-98 season. Grabau was the player of the year in Colorado; McFall was the player of the year in Kansas his senior year. Shyatt said Grabau has the ability to play the point and shooting guard spots.

–Grabau said Colorado State recruited him “heavily” as a junior, but said that fell apart when he didn’t attend an elite camp CSU held. Grabau also said Colorado wanted him to walk-on, but he said no thanks. No Division I schools in Colorado offered him a scholarship.

–As soon as Shyatt got off the call, he left to catch a plane for Rock Springs to attend a Cowboy Joe Club function.

For more on the signing of these three players, see Friday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com

Ajayi, Gilmore sign with UW

After nearly two weeks of waiting, the Wyoming men’s basketball team signed 6-11 center Lekan Ajayi Thursday. The official release from UW came at about 9:35 a.m.

About two hours later UW announced the signing of 5-9 junior-college point guard Derrious Gilmore, who will have two years of eligibility at UW.

Here are releases on both players from UW. See Friday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com more more on Ajayi and possibly other signees.

Lekan Ajayi

LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming men’s basketball program took a big step forward on Thursday morning, as head coach Larry Shyatt announced that highly-ranked national recruit Lekan Ajayi had signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Cowboys beginning in the fall of 2011.

“Lekan (Ajayi) was a player we had an opportunity to recruit during this past year at the University of Florida,” Shyatt said.  “As soon as I came to Wyoming and knew Lekan was still available, I felt he was someone who could make a major impact for our program for years to come.  I’ve always been impressed with his motor, his ability to run the floor and his rebounding ability.  We couldn’t be more delighted to have him become a part of our Wyoming family.

“He’s a young man who is committed to becoming a very good basketball player.  He is also committed to continue being the best he can be in the classroom.

“In terms of his skills, he is a work in progress offensively, but he will be an instant presence as a defender, rebounder and shot blocker.  He fits our style of play, because I feel he is a far better player in an uptempo game.  Lekan provides us the inside presence we need for the future.”

Lekan Ajayi (pronounced Loo-KAHN, AHH-jee) stands 6’ 11” and weighs 235 pounds.  ESPN’s Scouts Grade on Ajayi was 89 points out of a possible 100 points.  ESPN also rated him a three-star recruit and ranked him as the No. 24 center in the country.  He also took recruiting visits to Auburn, Wake Forest, Tennessee and Seton Hall.

A native of Lagos, Nigeria, he played his prep basketball at Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C.  His head coach was Isaac Pitts.

As a senior this past season, Ajayi averaged 9.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.  He helped lead Quality Education Academy to a 26-4 overall record and to the Division I National Christian Schools Athletic Association National Championship.  Ajayi pulled down 24 rebounds in the national championship game.  Quality Education Academy was the 25th ranked team in the country by MaxPreps.com this past season.

Derrious Gilmore

LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming basketball team added a critical piece to its recruiting class on Thursday, as junior college point guard Derrious Gilmore signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Cowboys and head coach Larry Shyatt.

            “We are very pleased to have Derrious travel across the country from his home in Baltimore to join the Wyoming basketball family,” Shyatt said.  “Derrious came highly recommended from our good friends at the University of West Virginia.  He has most recently played for coach Don Skelton, who I have known for a long time and have a great deal of respect for.  In fact, Don coached Jamar McKnight who was an All-ACC player for us at Clemson.

            “Derrious has a tough edge about him on both ends of the floor.  He is capable of playing either guard position, as he can shoot the ball at a high percentage and compliments that with his tremendous ball handling.”

Gilmore, who is 5’9” and weighs 165 pounds, comes to Wyoming from Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss.

Following this past season, Gilmore was named Second Team All-MACJC (Mississippi  Association of Community/Junior Colleges).  He averaged 12.3 points, 6.2 assists and 1.8 steals a game.  He ranked No. 26 in the nation in assists among all division I junior college players.  He was also a threat to score from three-point range, as he knocked down 44.7 percent (46-of-103) of his threes.  The Jones Bobcats finished 15-10 in 2010-11 and earned a berth in the Region 23 Tournament.  His coach at Jones was Don Skelton.

A native of Baltimore, Md., Gilmore attended Lake Clifton High School.  Following high school, he spent his freshman season at Pensacola Junior College in Florida, but transferred to Jones County after a coaching change at Pensacola.

Gilmore will have two years of eligibility remaining and will be a junior for the Cowboys next season.

Schroyer to UNLV; football tix going fast

It didn’t take long for former Wyoming men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer to land on his feet.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Tuesday that Schroyer has been hired at UNLV by new coach Dave Rice, and an annoucement will be made Wednesday. Both have known each other for a long time in the business, but have never worked together. Schroyer and Rice are close with BYU coach Dave Rose.

Any thoughts on this? I personally didn’t see Schroyer landing a job this fast in the MWC. Should make UNLV’s trip to UW next season more interesting.

Speaking of Schroyer, here is a story on ESPN’s Andy Katz on how process went in his firing and how Larry Shyatt is getting a second chance to coach the Cowboys.

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/blog/_/name/katz_andy/id/6430776/larry-shyatt-gets-second-shot-wyoming

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Kevin Duffy of the blog “Duffy Hoops”Duffy reported on his blog Tuesday that prep prospect Kelvin Amayo out of New Jersey did not visit UW Tuesday as other Internet websites reported earlier in the week. Duffy said Amayo may or may not visit UW at some point.

No news on any player signings today from UW. Still waiting on paper work for post Leken Ajayi, and waiting on decisions on others. Still a couple of weeks left in this spring signing period.

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The latest count on season tickets sold for UW football is 7,862 as of Tuesday morning. It was at 6,500 less than a week ago. The 7,862 is 3,000 ahead of last year’s pace, and 1,120 more than two years ago when Texas played in Laramie.

Obviously, the Sept. 24 home game with Nebraska is driving much of this, but it looks like UW will have no problem reaching its goal of 10,000 season tickets.

By the way, the record for most season tickets sold in a season is 8,336.

A quick note on single-game ticket sales for the Nebraska game: ticket request forms will be sent May 2 to the Cowboy Joe Club’s Golden Spur and Silver Spur levels. CJC members in its top three levels — Simpson, Scholarship and Coaches — have already received their request forms.

UW hoops recruiting update

Looks like a no-go for Wyoming men’s basketball and 6-3 guard Evan Conti. http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/dylan_butler/conti_commits_to_quinnipiac_vVoLXmW3xCE06FJDw89o4O

However, another New York-area guard appears to be on his way to Laramie for a visit. Kelvin Amayo recently visited Rice, but looks like he’s had interest in other schools. Here are a couple of links:

 http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/recruiting/player/_/id/102431/kelvin-amayo

http://rivals.yahoo.com/rutgers/basketball/recruiting/player-Kelvin-Amayo-97470

UW is still waiting on paperwork from post Lekan Ajayi, and also waiting on a decision from

Ajayi to sign with UW hoops

According to ESPN.com, Wyoming has a received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-10, 235-pound Lekan Ajayi from Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Wyoming has not officially announced the signing, and can’t until it has received his national letter of intent. I was told this afternoon by UW sports information officials there would be no announcements of any signings today.

Ajayi visited Laramie a couple of weeks ago, and was also recruited by Missouri, Auburn, Wake Forest and Loyola Marymount.

Here is the ESPN link to his bio: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/recruiting/player/_/id/104003/lekan-ajayi

If UW signs him it would be a big boost inside. Senior Adam Waddell is the only true center currently on the roster.