(UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Cowboys returned to the floor in preparation for the 2018-19 season on Tuesday afternoon. The Pokes are coming off back-to-back 20 win seasons and return All-Mountain West performer Justin James. Wyoming will have 37 days to prepare for their exhibition contest against Colorado Christian in Laramie on November 1.
“We were very excited to get this group out on the floor for the first practice,” Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards said. “I thought we really used the eight weeks in the preseason to get better. Our guys are excited to get to work in preparation for the season.”
Edwards became the only coach in Cowboy history to win at least 20 games in his first two seasons as head coach. Wyoming was once again a potent offense last season averaging 79.8 points per game, as UW hit 304 three pointers for the third-most in school history. Wyoming also tied an NCAA record a season ago going 6-0 in overtime joining Chattanooga (1989) to go 6-0 in overtime in a single season.
Wyoming returns two starters in senior guard Justin James and sophomore guard Hunter Maldonado. James was a First Team All-Mountain West selection this season averaging 18.9 points per game to go along with 6.0 rebounds per night and 3.1 assists per game. In conference play, James averaged 20.8 points per game ranking second in the MW. James scored 20 or more points 15 times this season including a career-high 33 points on two occasions. Maldonado averaged 5.3 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per night.
Other returners include senior guard Nyaires Redding (3.7 PPG, 1.3 APG), senior forward Jordan Naughton (2.0 PPG, 1.2 RPG) and sophomore forward Austin Mueller (1.1 PPG, 0.5 RGP). Redshirt freshman Hunter Thompson earned valuable experience last season redshirting for the Cowboys.
“I thought the returners have done a great job this summer of setting the tone and building on our culture,” Edwards said. “The veterans set the right type of example for the newcomers. I thought our new guys did a nice job of following suit and their energy was great. They want to get better individually and as a team.”
Wyoming added three junior college transfers in A.J. Banks (Pratt CC, Kan.), Lwal Dung (Neosho CC, Kan.) and Jake Hendricks (College of Southern Idaho).
The Cowboys also added five prep school players to the roster in Bradley Belt (Washington Academy), Tariq Johnson (Mt. Zion Prep), Brandon Porter (Washington Academy), Trevon “TJ” Taylor (Hillcrest Prep) and Trace Young (Mt. Zion Prep).
The Cowboys spent the summer in Laramie working out with new strength and conditioning coach Marcus Edwards. The group also worked on skill development with the coaching staff. The group has also been parts of several events within the Wyoming community.
“I thought the eight weeks were crucial to get some things done for a team standpoint that will not be need to get done here early in preseason practice,” Edwards said. “We did more drills over the summer. At the end of the day this group has the willingness to do whatever it takes to get better.”
Season tickets for the Pokes are now available. Don’t forget to take advantage of the NEW Seathopper mobile season ticket! Get a ticket to all regular season home games for just $135 visit GoWyo.Com/Tickets or call 307-766-7220. Those interested in season tickets are welcome to stop by the Wyoming Athletic ticket Office from Noon-2 p.m. prior to the Boise State game on Sept. 29 to look at available season ticket locations in the Arena-Auditorium. Ticket representatives will be on hand to show available spots for Cowboy fans.
Mini-Plan tickets go on sale on Oct. 3. Fans can pick four or more games with prices as low as $10 dollars per game.