TUCKER: Yes, it’s real. UW hoops just landed top recruiting class in the MW
LARAMIE -- What a difference a month makes, huh?
The Cowboys were 9-24 last season. Remember? They won just two conference games, none of which came on their home court.
Do you recall all the empty seats inside the Arena-Auditorium? I doubt it -- you probably weren't there. That newly remodeled 11,000-plus seat venue was about as lively as the cemetery across the street most nights.
Hell, let's be real, every night.
Allen Edwards, the stand-up gentleman he is, was beaten down. Nothing seemed to work. Scoring was erratic, rebounding was nonexistent and confidence was nowhere to be found. Oh, on occasion, the Cowboys would fool you into thinking there was a corner that was about to be turned. It was just another wall. A brick wall.
It was always the same message, the same excuses.
Aside from a miracle two-game run in the Mountain West Tournament, this was the lowest the program has been since the early 70's when Wyoming rolled to just 13 victories in two seasons.
MEET THE TOP RECRUITING CLASS IN THE MWC:
* Graham Ike last Cowboy to sign on dotted line
* ‘Big Shamrock’ helping put hoops on the map in Ireland
* Linder, Pokes land 6’8″ forward from Florida
* Linder snags another former UNC commit
* ‘We want to turn Wyoming back into a basketball school’
* DuSell doesn’t know much about Wyoming — he just wants to win
Let me cheer you up a tad.
Wyoming's new head coach Jeff Linder and his slew of energetic assistants pulled off nothing short of a coup. Without stepping foot on the court in Laramie or into a recruits home -- literally, thanks to COVID-19 -- the Cowboys just snagged the top recruiting class in the Mountain West Conference and the 53rd class in the nation out of 350 Division-I schools.
Read that again. Trust me, it takes a minute to really set in.
According to the pros who track that sort of thing, Wyoming made out better than Oregon. South Carolina. Northwestern. Yeah, that deserves periods, not commas. Those are Power-5 schools with big budgets.
Oregon was 24-7 when the pandemic struck and shutdown the season.
Yeah, I was in disbelief, too.
Six new players inked with Linder and Co. Wednesday. Arguably one of the best guards in Texas, Marcus Williams, is coming to Laramie. So is a 6-foot, 10-inch Irishman, Eoin Nelson, from Dublin. Throw in a pair of JUCO guys, Drake Jeffries and Drew LaMont, who sank 80-plus 3-pointers each last season and a smooth, do-it-all kind of guys from Arizona, Xavier DuSell.
And don't forget the sixth and final recruit, Graham Ike. He is a 6-foot, 9-inch inside presence from Colorado, Linder's home state. He won't play a single minute next season because of an ACL tear, yet Linder said he could, in the end, be one of the best post players he ever coaches.
That is crazy talk, isn't it?
The Cowboys landed two more key pieces Wednesday, too. Kwane Marble, who landed on the All-MW Tournament team after scoring 59 points in three games in Las Vegas, is coming back. So is former Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year, Kenny Foster. He had a nice tourney, too, netting a career-high 18 in a loss to Utah State in the semifinals.
And don't forget about the other guys who are returning: Leading scorer, rebounder, assist man Hunter Maldonado is back. So is Pine Bluffs product, Hunter Thompson.
Last week, I asked this question to no one in particular -- Is Cowboy basketball fun again or were things so bad we are seeing a mirage?
I think we have our answer.
We won't be crowning the Cowboys just yet. After all, this is all on paper and last I checked San Diego State, Utah State, UNLV, Nevada and New Mexico are still in the league.
But isn't it fun to be talking about Cowboy hoops in this light again?
To think -- it only took a month.
MORE COWBOY HOOPS NEWS:
* Linder inks six in initial recruiting class
* Marble, Foster staying put in Laramie
* Thompson will return to UW next season
* Can Cowboys win now? Linder sure thinks so