LARAMIE -- "I know everyone is wondering."

A shoulder shrug followed. So did a slight grin.

Brendan Wenzel, patiently answering the question twice, claims he has no idea if Tuesday night was his final game inside the Arena-Auditorium. The senior guard said his focus is on winning the Cowboys' two guaranteed games remaining on the schedule, both oddly coming against Fresno State.

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"I don't know. I really haven't thought about it," he said when asked if he will return to Laramie for his final year of eligibility.

"That time will come," fellow guard Akuel Kot chimed in. "That time will come."

"That's something I'm going to decide whenever the season is done," Wenzel continued. "Right now I'm focused on what I can control."

If that was Wenzel's swan song in front of the locals, he went out with a bang.

The San Antonio product thwarted a furious Air Force comeback attempt late, robbing Beau Becker before running the length of the floor and flushing home a violent, two-handed jam to give Wyoming a 64-56 lead with 3:24 to go.

That was the first jab.

Another one came on the following possession when Wenzel stroked a triple from the corner. The knockout punch came on the Cowboys' next trip down the floor when he did it again.

Game over.

Wenzel netted a team-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He added three from distance and hauled in six rebounds in the 74-63 victory over the Falcons.

He joked postgame that it was his man, Jeffrey Mills, that cut the lead to four on a second-chance three-pointer just before his eight-point spurt. That could've been the turning point in this one. Wenzel wouldn't allow it.

Jeff Linder said there won't be any pitch from him to keep Wenzel in a Wyoming uniform. According to the fourth-year head coach, he's paid his dues in this program and doesn't owe anyone anything.

"You'd love to have him back, but at the same time, too, I mean, he's done whatever he needed to do for us," Linder said. "I mean, he's been here for five years. He's graduated and working on a second degree. For him, he's going to have a decision to make whether or not, you know, he wants to go pro."

There's another unpopular option, too.

"A guy like him, if you look at his stats and what he's done, a guy like him commands a lot of attention in the (transfer) portal," Linder continued. "I hate to say it, but he's a guy that could go get what they like to say, a pretty big bag. That's the reality of it.

"... Whatever's best for Brendan, that's what we're going to do and we're going to support him either way. Obviously, you'd like to have him back, but he's done what we've asked him to do. If he feels like there's something else out there that's going to give him a better chance of doing what he wants to do, then so be it. He's earned that right."

Wenzel transferred to Laramie from the University of Utah during the 2020-21 campaign. He appeared in 34 games the following season, starting 14 of those, averaging 5.2 points and nearly three rebounds an outing.

In a must-win game against UNLV in the opening round of the Mountain West Tournament, Wenzel netted 12 points -- including the final seven of the contest -- off the bench and snagged seven rebounds in a 59-56 victory.

If Wyoming doesn't come away with that win, it likely doesn't earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament a week later.

Wenzel averaged nearly eight points per game last season while battling a number of injuries. This year, after losing eight key members of the roster to the portal in the offseason, Wenzel has started all 29 games and is scoring nearly a dozen a night. He's also pulling down better than five boards and consistently drawing the toughest defensive assignment.

That includes shadowing the likes of New Mexico's Donovan Dent, UNLV's Dedan Thomas and Colorado State's Isaiah Stevens and Jarod Lucas of Nevada, among others.

Linder said when Wenzel arrived on Campus he was overweight. The head coach even openly questioned if his new arrival was committed to the game. He even earned the unwanted nickname "Weight-Watchers Wenzel."

"He was out of shape, for sure," Hunter Maldonado said back in November of 2022. "He couldn't get up and down too many times in a row and always had to get a sub ... Coach was ripping him because, obviously, you can't play basketball if you can only go up and down once or twice."

Wenzel got the message, dropping from 220 pounds to 208. He also fell in love with the game again.

"He always had the talent to do it, the skill level to do it and the brain to do it," Linder said. "It was just a matter of he wanted to embrace what it took for him to be the type of player he's become now. I knew for us to be good this year he needed to be a borderline all-league guy and, as the season has gone on, that's what he's performed as."

While the future is unclear, Wenzel said if this was it, it's the result he was looking for.

"Emotions were kind of all over the place, especially it kind of hit me walking out with my mom and great grandma when everyone was cheering me on," he said. "Sad, but I was glad that, if this is my last game at the Double-A, I could go out with a win."

Is he sure he hasn't made up his mind yet?

"I'm trying to focus on finishing the season strong," he added. "I'm not really thinking about that part yet."

Wyoming (14-16, 7-10) will travel to Fresno State (11-19, 4-13) for a Saturday meeting inside the Save Mart Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.

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