LARAMIE, Wyo. — Wyoming men’s basketball’s season came to an end last week with a quarterfinal loss to New Mexico in the Mountain West tournament. But the work won’t stop for the Wyoming coaching staff.
Now that the season’s over, the coaches have the ability to get out and recruit.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a staff where the entire staff is engulfed in game plan, relationship with our guys, off the court (involvement) with our guys,” Wyoming assistant coach Jeremy Shyatt said. “There’s no one on the staff that’s just a recruiter. And because of that, (head coach Allen Edwards) doesn’t really like when we miss a lot of practice, and we don’t like when we miss a lot of practice, because that’s important. So I think from a November-to-March standpoint, it’s few and far between when we can actually get out.”
The Cowboys have six scholarships they can assign to their 2018 recruiting class, a total that grew Tuesday when freshman guard Anthony Mack’s departure from the program was announced. One of those spots has been filled by Trevon Taylor, who signed with Wyoming in November.
“Obviously the word ‘versatility’ is thrown out a lot with guys that we have recruited in the program,” Shyatt said. “And I think when you use the word ‘versatility,’ I think that what comes to fans’ minds immediately is, ‘Can he do multiple things from an offense standpoint? Dribble, pass, shoot and play different positions.’ Coaches look at it, ‘Can he defend multiple positions? Can we put him on a point guard and now his length is bothering a really good scorer in our conference? If he adds a few pounds and we want to play a little smaller, can he guard a 4? Can we switch ball screens with him?’
“And I think the more versatile you are on the defensive end, the more things we can do from a defensive scheme standpoint. And I think because of his length and athleticism, that’s definitely something that (Taylor) is going to be able to bring to the table.”
Wyoming also has a pair of players committed from North Carolina prep school Washington Academy, combo guard Bradley Belt and forward Brandon Porter, the Casper Star-Tribune reported .
“We’ve been fortunate,” Shyatt said. “We got out a couple times (during the year), and now we have a couple other guys in the fold.”
Both are expected to sign with the team in April. Coaches are not able to talk specifically about verbal commits before they sign because of NCAA regulations.
Four of those scholarships open up because of the seniors departing from this year’s team. The final scholarship is available because Wyoming had just 12 of 13 scholarships filled this year.
“Obviously in the short term, we lose two guards and two forwards in this class,” Shyatt said. “And in our fold, you kind of see the respective kids that are committed or signed to come here, they’re starting to fill some of those needs. Now, the good part is we still have a scholarship or two to play with if there is a transfer or there is a kid that’s late that helps us.”
The next year, Wyoming is expected to have just two scholarships open up because of juniors Justin James and Jordan Naughton.
“So I think that instead of saying, ‘In this class, we’re going to have X amount of scholarships, in the next class we’re going to have X amount of scholarships,’ you kind of look at them from a whole,” Shyatt said. “More like, ‘Hey, in the next two years, we’re going to have this amount.’ And then absolutely year by year you address what you think your needs are going to be.”
Shyatt was speaking before Mack’s departure was announced, however, which could add to Wyoming’s urgency regarding this current signing class.
“Now April’s a big month for us when we can get out,” Shyatt said. “I think that that’s when, one, you can evaluate what your returning group looks like and what your needs are. Because you don’t know that in October. You start to have a good idea of that toward the end of the season. And then obviously with the ability for us to actually get out in March and April, you can start to fill even more pieces.”
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com