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Wyoming Hoops Picked To Finish Sixth In The Mountain West; No Individual Awards

It's hard to believe but basketball season is on the verge of getting started. It is going to be a busy week for the basketball team with preseason activities taking place today and Midnight Madness happening on Friday.  If you are in Laramie this weekend you will want to be apart of that event.  It will be a kickoff for homecoming activities and an introduction of the new basketball staff and team.  Dick Vitale did video introductions for each player and Jeff Van Gundy will be the MC for the event.  A special guest from the Chicago Bulls (presumably Joakim Noah) will also be in attendance. For more info check out the full release.

As for the presason poll the Pokes were picked to finish sixth in the Mountain ahead of TCU and Boise State.  That seems like a decent result considering the last two seasons and the loss of so many players last year.  Obviously there is a lot for this program to prove under new coach Larry Shyatt.  I'm just thankful that the Pokes didn't end up in last place.  There is certainly a large gap between the top four and bottom four teams in the Mountain West.

2011-12 PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
Rk. School (First-Place Votes Pts.
1. New Mexico (22) 203
2. UNLV (4) 183
3. San Diego State 158
4. Colorado State 119
5. Air Force 78
6. Wyoming 68
7. TCU 64
8. Boise State 63

Wyoming was also shut out of the individual awards this year.  That is not really surprising as UNLV and New Mexico were expected to dominate the preseason awards.  A lot of media outside of the 307 are sleeping on Wyoming junior F Leonard Washington who will be eligible this year after transferring from USC last year.  He would have been the leading weapon for the Cowboys last year and will certainly take role this year with Desmar Jackson and Amath M'Baye both leaving. 

Instead Xavier Thames from San Diego State was named preseason newcomer of the year.  As a freshmen at Washington State Thames averaged 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 17.6 minutes a game back in 2009.  Meanwhile Washington averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds in his two years at USC.  If Derrious Gilmore wins the starting point guard job for the Pokes he could also be a contender for the newcomer award.

Hugh Greenwood of New Mexico was named freshmen of the year.  Right now there is nothing certain on how many minutes the Wyoming freshmen will see this year.  A lot of that will depend on the health of veterans like Afam Muojeke and Adam Waddell.  Injuries to those players could open up plenty of minutes for F Larry Nance Jr. and C Lekan Ajayi.

2011-12 MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Name Class Position Institution
Oscar Bellfield Sr. G UNLV
Drew Gordon Sr. F New Mexico
Chace Stanback Sr. G/F UNLV
Hank Thorns Sr. G TCU
Kendall Williams So. G New Mexico
Preseason Player of the Year
Drew Gordon, Sr., F, New Mexico
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Xavier Thames, So., G, San Diego State
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Hugh Greenwood, G, New Mexico