BREAKING: Wyoming’s Graham Ike is Officially in the Transfer Portal
LARAMIE -- Throughout the Cowboys' forgettable nine-win season, players and coaches alike scoffed at the idea the sky was falling.
Tuesday, it officially happened.
Graham Ike is gone.
Your worst fears are now a reality.
Wyoming's 6-foot-10, 255-pound forward announced on social media he will be entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. He isn't alone, either. Ike is the eighth player to plunge into college basketball's version of free agency, joining former teammates Ethan Anderson, Max Agbonkpolo, Jake Kyman, Noah Reynolds, Nate Barnhart, Jeremiah Oden and Xavier DuSell.
Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson also exhausted their eligibility.
Ike's departure means not one player from Jeff Linder's initial recruiting class remains on the roster. More importantly, the Cowboys now have 10 scholarships to fill out of 13 slots.
Wyoming also lost its lone recruit in the 2023-24 class, Makaiah Williams, who in February asked to be released from his National Letter of Intent.
Brendan Wenzel, Kenny Foster and Caden Powell, for now, are the only remaining scholarship players. Wenzel has said publicly he intends to return to UW next fall.
A complete rebuild is underway.
Ike, who was selected the Mountain West's Preseason Player of the Year, never entered the lineup this season. The Aurora, Colo., product suffered a right foot injury in late October that was believed at the time to be a "6-to-8 week" setback. On Feb. 3, Ike announced he would forfeit the season and instead focus on recovery and utilize a medical redshirt.
Would he come back to Laramie?
His own words did little to calm nerves inside the UW fan base.
"I will continue working on my rehab with my physical therapists and I look forward to coming back to the game stronger than ever," he penned.
Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman in early March was asked about Ike's future with the program.
"I think he'll be a Cowboy next year, I really do," he said during the conference tournament in Las Vegas, adding that he hadn't heard any different. "We have to get him healthy -- and he's getting close."
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Ike started all 33 games for the Pokes during the 2021-22 campaign, averaging a team-best 19.5 points per night to go along with nearly 10 rebounds. A dominant force in the paint, Ike scored in double figures in all but one game while leading Wyoming to an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Ike netted 17 points and snagged nine boards in a 66-58 loss to Indiana in the First Four matchup in Dayton, Ohio.
Little did we know then, that was the last game Ike would play in a Wyoming uniform.
A former three-star recruit out of Overland High School, Ike suffered a torn ACL during his senior season. Linder never wavered on his scholarship offer as other schools backed off. Ike originally committed to Northern Colorado where Linder was the head coach from 2016-20.
Ike was also recruited by Washington State, Saint Louis, UMass, Air Force, Bucknell, Akron and Loyola Marymount.
Appearing in just 12 games during the COVID-19-shortened '20 campaign, the true freshman burst onto the scene, scoring 18 points in a win over Nevada in just his second collegiate game. Ike's breakout performance came in the opening round of the league tournament, where he scored a then career-high 32 points in a 111-80 rout of San Jose State inside the Thomas and Mack Center.
"There's really no one in the country that, one on one, I don't think can really guard him," Linder said last October. "... There's never been a post player in the last 25 years that's been used in that many possessions in the post."
Ike has not been made available to the media since the preseason and he was not on the bench during numerous games late in the regular season. UW officials said he has been back in Denver rehabbing.
Linder has not spoken publicly since March 5. He was not on the sideline during Wyoming's lone game in the conference tournament. Linder was also in the Denver area, tending to his ailing father, who passed away the day after the Cowboys' season came to an end with an 87-76 loss to New Mexico in the quarterfinals.
Sundance Wicks, who last week was named the head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay, filled in for Linder in Las Vegas.