College Basketball’s Transfer Portal Window Opens Today
LARAMIE -- Basketball's version of the NCAA Transfer Portal opens today.
The 60-day window will be especially important around these parts. Wyoming already has five available scholarships and athletics director Tom Burman said last week at the Mountain West Tournament he expects Jeff Linder's program -- along with every other team on campus -- to lose roughly 20% of its roster on a yearly basis.
When asked if he expects the roster to remain intact, acting head coach Sundance Wicks joked and said he doesn't have a crystal ball and he is most certainly not Miss Cleo, a famous television psychic.
While Wicks said he planned to utilize the next 24 hours to decompress and let the nine-win season soak in, reality is, the offseason began the minute the buzzer sounded Wednesday night on Wyoming's 87-76 loss to New Mexico.
"Guess what? In this world right now everybody gets a choice," said UW's assistant coach, who filled in for Linder during the Cowboys' lone game in Las Vegas. "Everybody gets to make a decision. It used to be, you know, if someone decided to leave, they had to sit out a year. Maybe they weighed that choice a little bit differently. Now it's free 99 for everybody. Everybody has a choice. At the end of the day that's why you have offseason meetings. You go back and sit down and reconvene. Everybody gets to talk about what's going to happen next.
"For me, I can't play Miss Cleo right now. I wish I could for you, but it's not my job and I'm not very good at it."
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson both played their final game in a Pokes' uniform in Las Vegas, opening up a pair of scholarships. One of those was supposed to go to Makaih Williams, who in late February announced via social media he was decommitting from UW and asked for a release from his National Letter of Intent. He was the Cowboys' lone signing in the 2023-24 class.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound three-star guard is from Long Beach, Calif.
Why is that significant?
The three players who left the team in early February -- Jake Kyman, Ethan Anderson and Max Agbonkpolo -- also hail from southern California. That trio came to Laramie last offseason. It appeared to be a coup for Linder and Co., snagging Pac-12 talent from SC and UCLA.
Coincidence or correlation? We'll likely never know.
WHO IS COMING BACK?
Brendan Wenzel didn't mince words -- he'll be back.
The Texas product originally inked with Utah out of high school and used his one-time transfer to play at Wyoming in 2020-21. The junior guard made that announcement Feb. 24 after the Cowboys fell at Colorado State.
For now, he is the only known commit.
What about Graham Ike?
"I think he'll be a Cowboy next year, I really do," Burman said in Las Vegas, adding, he hasn't "heard any different."
"We have to get him healthy -- and he's getting close," Burman continued.
MORE UW HOOPS NEWS VIA 7220SPORTS:
* Wyoming fans pay homage to Hunter Maldonado
* Wyoming mourns the loss of Jeff Linder's father, Bruce
* Will Graham Ike return to Laramie next fall?
* Tuck's Takes: We'll never see another one like him
The Mountain West's Preseason Player of the Year suffered what would become a season-ending right foot injury last October, just days before the Cowboys began the 2022-23 campaign. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound forward announced Feb. 3 on social media he would sit out the remainder of the year and take advantage of a medical redshirt.
"After a difficult several months of rehabilitating my foot following an injury sustained in the preseason, it is with great sadness that I have decided it is in my best interest to redshirt the rest of the 2022-23 basketball season," Ike penned on Twitter. "Huge shoutout to my teammates for their support, strength and brotherhood. It has definitely been a challenge being on the sidelines, but I am proud of how they've come together to fight hard all season.
"I'd also like to thank our amazing fans, the school and my coaching staff for its support during this time. I will continue working on my rehab with my physical therapists and I look forward to coming back to the game stronger than ever."
Linder said Initial indications were this would be a 6-to-8 week recovery.
“Graham will come back from this even better than he was before,” Linder said in a statement. “He has a bright future ahead of him and his long-term health is our top priority. As much as he wanted to be on the floor playing this season, he made the best decision for his future, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him.“
WHO IS STILL ON SCHOLARSHIP?
Sophomore guard Noah Reynolds became the Cowboys' go-to offensive weapon this season in Ike's Absence.
The Illinois product averaged 14.5 points per game through 19 outings, including five straight 20-plus point outings in December. He netted a career-high 30 in a 91-76 victory over Texas A&M-Commerce.
Reynolds was "shut down" for the season in early February after suffering his third concussion over a six-month span. He missed Wyoming's final nine games.
Forward Jeremiah Oden, who scored nearly 10 points a night, is also currently on the roster, along with guard Xavier DuSell. The junior was the only player on the roster to appear in all 31 games.
Fellow forwards Nate Barnhart and Caden Powell are also underclassmen. Those two combined to score nearly four points per game. Junior guard Kenny Foster also averaged 4.8 points per night, playing in just 17 games after undergoing midseason back surgery.
Ike and Wenzel bring the scholarship count to eight. All Division-1 basketball teams can offer up to 13 full rides.
WHEN DOES THE PORTAL CLOSE?
Transactions can begin tomorrow through May 11.
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