Linder, Cowboy Basketball Adds Two More Signees to 2023-24 Class
LARAMIE -- One of the loneliest places on planet earth a week ago was the roster page on Wyoming's official basketball site.
Since college basketball's traditional signing period opened last Wednesday, Jeff Linder and Co. have inked five new players -- three transfers and two from the high school ranks -- who will join holdovers Brendan Wenzel, Kenny Foster and Caden Powell.
The latest signees -- Kael Combs and Nebraska transfer, Oleg Kojenets -- join Kobe Newton (Fullerton College), Nigle Cook (DME Academy) and last season's NAIA Player of the Year Mason Walters (University of Jamestown) on this new-look roster.
Combs, who signed Saturday, is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard from Nixa, Mo. He averaged 23.4 points per night while pulling down nearly seven rebounds and dishing out more than six assists. Arguably even more impressive, Cook drilled 44% of his shots from beyond the arc.
He was named the COC Player of the Year in class 6A and also earned District 5 Player of the Year, Springfield Tip-Off Club Player of the Year and News-Leader Player of the Year honors.
“Kael is an elite player maker who brings great size and has won at a high level in high school,” Linder penned on Twitter.
The All-State selection netted a career-high 46 points in a regular-season outing. That night Cook also added 11 boards and eight helpers. In his final game in a Nixa uniform, he scored 36 points over the final three quarters.
Also a standout on the football field, Combs received offers to line up at wide receiver from Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Western Michigan and Southern Miss, among others. Kansas State and Iowa State also showed interest late.
Abilene Christian and Missouri State joined UW in hopes Cook would play basketball at the next level. He will.
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Oleg Kojenets (Oh-Leg Co-yah-nets) signed with the Cowboys Monday after spending the last two seasons in Lincoln. The 7-foot, 232-pound sophomore joins a front court that now includes 6-foot-9 Walters and 6-foot-10 Powell.
“Oleg is a highly skilled front-court player with tremendous feel and terrific work ethic,” Linder wrote about the Kaunas, Lithuania product, who appeared in 18 games last season with the Huskers.
Kojenets netted just 10 points and 13 rebounds during his first year of college action, most of those coming in Big Ten play.
The former three-star recruit was rated the No. 26 center in the nation after playing his final prep season at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio. Prior to coming to the U.S.. Kojenets suited up for the U19 National Team in Lithuania, playing in the Basketball World Cup, Next Generation Tournament and European Championships.
After all, it's in his blood.
His father, Aleh Kojenets, was a 6-foot-11 center, who helped lead UNC Wilmington to the NCAA Tournament in 2000. He appeared in 114 college games before enjoying a professional career overseas. His mother, Jurgita Kojenets, also starred for the Seahawks. The 6-foot-6 center ranks third in single-season blocks (71) and career blocks (122). She also holds the school record with 10 blocks in a single game.
Wyoming still has seven available scholarships. The signing window will close May 17.