Season Preview: Wyoming Hoops

Only four days away till the 2010-11 season officially starts for Wyoming.  Can the Pokes improve on their dismal 10-21 record from last year?  There are plenty of new additions to the team so it will be interesting to see how all the pieces fit together.  Cowboy fans are hungry for success and Coach Schroyer would love to silence the critics this year. 

The Mountain West has plenty of depth this year with four teams that made the NCAA tournament last year.  The regular season schedule should provide plenty of winnable games for the Pokes.

If you want a in depth analysis of all the new players on the team read this article now.  In this article we'll break down the returners from last year and project the starting lineup for game one and the rest of the season.  Health were be a major issue for the Pokes this year and it may be a few games before they can truly play all their starters.

Afam Muojeke and Adam Waddell are two key pieces for the Pokes who both missed the exhibition game last Saturday against Peru State.  Muojeke has been rehabbing since tearing a tendon in his knee last year.  Waddell was banged up at the end of last year and has been dealing with an ankle injury this year.  The Pokes will need the break out scoring ability of Muojeke to provide some offensive firepower this year.  Waddell is vital for the Pokes as the only true center on the roster.

All the stats listed are from the 2009-10 season.

GUARDS

Desmar Jackson - 11.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists

Jackson stepped up big after Muojeke went down last year.  Jackson can play either guard spot and is a fierce defender.  The question is will he the Robin to Muojeke's Batman OR will he become his own Batman?  It will be interesting to see how they share the ball when on the floor at the same time.  Will Jackson spend most of his time at the one or two this year?  That is another question that will have a big impact on the roster.

JayDee Luster - 5.7 points, 3 rebounds, 4.3 assists

Luster is a pass first PG that comes in a pint size package.  I prefer a pass first PG like Luster, the only problem is last year he hardly had any weapons to share the ball  Last year Luster was the starter but Jackson could take over the starting role forcing Luster to the bench. 

Arthur Bouedo - 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists

Boeudo missed the first twelve games of the season to satisfy the NCAA eligibility requirements and so it took him awhile to mesh with the team.  Loves to shoot the three and hit on 28% of his shots from that range last year.  A pure shooting guard, Bouedo will battle for minutes with Paco Cruz this year.

GUARD - FORWARDS

Afam Muojeke - 16.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists

The loss of Muojeke put the Cowboys in a tailspin last year.  The former MWC Freshman of the Year has that big game scoring ability that it seems others are lacking.  Led the team in FT%, 3P% and turnovers last year.  After losing  many scorers from the 2008 season it seemed that Muojeke tried to shoulder too much of the load last year which resulted in too many forced turnovers. 

He still needs some more time recover from his knee injury so his his minutes will be limited to start the season.  Hopefully he be back at full strength at some point during the season to give the Pokes a boost.  This team is way more dangerous with him on the court.

Daylen Harrison - 2.8 points, 1,8 rebounds, 0.8 assists

As a freshman last year it hard to find a spot for Harrison on the floor and he only averaged 11 minutes a game.  At 6-6 220lbs he kind reminded me of a bowling ball with legs, he has a big torso.  Not quite big enough to be a force inside and play PF and not quick enough to cover the wing.  Over the off season it seemed that Harrison worked out quite a bit and turned some of his extra bulk into muscle mass so hopefully this will help his game.  Just not sure exactly where and how much he will play. 

FORWARDS

Djibril Thiam - 9.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.8 blocks

The only player to start every game last Thiam is one of only two seniors on the team.  Was very consistent last year and hit on 56% of his shots last year.   Uses his length for defense and getting blocks.  Gained a few pounds this year which should help his rebounding numbers this year.  Will be interesting to see how the growth of Amath M'Baye and newcomer Brian Gibson affect his minutes over the year. 

Amath M'Baye - 5.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.9 blocks

A spark plug off the bench last year M'Baye showed plenty of glimpses of talent last year.  Early favorite for most improved player this year he had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Pokes exhibition game.  Also added some bulk to his frame and is now up to 210 lbs.  Will challenge for the starting PF spot this year and looks to make quite an impact in the future.  

Rob Watsabaugh - 1.0 point, 0.3 rebounds, 0.1 blocks

The other senior on the squad Watsabaugh only play in the nine games last year and averaged two minutes a game.   Won't see many more minutes this year but is a solid teammate and member of the team.   

CENTERS

Adam Waddell - 9.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.8 blocks

2009 was a nice improvement for Waddell in his sophomore year.  Injuries throughout the season caused him to miss several games.  The leading rebounder on the team Waddell owns the MWC record for 22 rebounds in a single game.  Would love for him to boost his block numbers and average at least once block per game this year.  A fan favorite he puts in a solid effort every time he is on the floor.  Has dealt with ankle tendinitis already this season which caused him to miss the exhibition.

***

So there is your look at all the returners from last year.  Now how will the pieces fit together?  Here are two projected lineups for the season opener against Kean. I have Muojeke and Waddell both sitting out the opener in order to get another week of recovery.

 

Starter / Reserve / Reserve

PG:  Desmar Jackson / JayDee Luster / Joe Hudson

SG: Paco Cruz / Arthur Beoudo / Desmar Jackson

SF: Amath M'Baye / Daylen Harrison / Daylen Harrison

PF: Brian Gibson /  Amath M' Baye / Rob Watsabaugh

C: Djibril Thiam / Brian Gibson / Djibril Thiam

Or if the Cowboys go with a three guard set similar to what they did last Saturday.

Starter / Reserve / Reserve

PG:  Desmar Jackson / JayDee Luster / Joe Hudson

SG: Arthur Beoudo / Desmar Jackson / Joe Hudson

SG: Paco Cruz / Daylen Harrison / Daylen Harrison

PF: Amath M' Baye / Brian Gibson / Rob Watsabaugh

C: Djibril Thiam / Brian Gibson / Djibril Thiam

Here is the projected lineup for when the Cowboys are at full strength this year.  I think Jackson will eventually start at SG this year and let Luster run the point. 

PG:  JayDee Luster/ Desmar Jackson / Joe Hudson

SG:  Desmar Jackson / Paco Cruz / Arthur Bouedo

SG: Afam Muojeke / Paco Cruz / Daylen Harrison

PF: Djibril Thiam / Amath M' Baye / Brian Gibson / 

C: Adam Waddell . Djibril Thiam / Brian Gibson

 

Feel free to post your own lineups below and predictions for the season.  Go Pokes!

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