Wyoming Basketball Lands First Commit of 2023-24 Class
LARAMIE -- The rebuilding process is officially underway in Laramie.
Jeff Linder and Co. snagged its first commitment of the 2023-24 class Monday, snagging guard Kobe Newton, who spent last season at Fullerton College in southern California.
Newton has two years of eligibility remaining.
"The No. 1 reason for me was the opportunity to play for coach Linder," Newton said Monday afternoon. "He possesses a basketball mind that’s second to almost none. The opportunity to learn and grow under him for two years was simply a no-brainer for me, considering I’d like to be a coach someday, myself."
Newton's signing follows a tumultuous offseason that saw eight players, including last year's Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year, Graham Ike, enter the NCAA Transfer Portal. Linder is tasked with filling 10 scholarships out of a possible 13, with only Brendan Wenzel, Caden Powell and Kenny Foster remaining on the roster from last season's 9-22 campaign.
Newton, who began his career at Dodge City Community College (Kan.), appeared in 26 games for Fullerton last winter, averaging 13.3 points an outing to go along with nearly three rebounds and two assists. Newton shot 41% from the field and drilled close to 39% of his shots from beyond the arc. The Hornets captured a CCCAA Championship with an 83-73 victory over City College of San Francisco just 15 days ago.
Newton netted 11 points and snagged six rebounds in the win. He was named an all-tournament selection.
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The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Portland, Ore., product failed to reach double figures in just seven games for the Hornets in 2022-23. His best outing came against Santa Ana, where Newton finished with a season-high 24 points while hitting 8-of-14 attempts from the field, including six triples.
Newton loved facing Santa Ana.
In an earlier meeting, the sophomore stroked a career-best seven threes en route to a 23-point night. A source familiar with the situation called Newton a "winner" and raved about Fullerton and the California Junior College circuit.
"I feel extremely relieved to have made this decision," Newton said. "Considering how the portal has shaken up college basketball, I didn’t want to wait and possibly miss out on the opportunity to play and compete in the Mountain West."
Newton averaged 16 points, six rebounds and added five assists a night at Westview High School, earning All-6A Metro League honors. He helped lead the Wildcats to the postseason in all three seasons with the program. Newton was the 62nd ranked player in the state of Oregon following his senior campaign.
Since the transfer portal opened on March 13, Wyoming has lost eight players. Noah Reynolds and Nate Barnhart were the first to jump ship. Jeremiah Oden, Xavier DuSell and Ike followed. Ethan Anderson, Max Agbonkpolo and Jake Kyman -- all three transfers from the Pac-12 -- left the team in early February.
Anderson is the only former Cowboy to find a new home. He's committed to Pepperdine.
The program also lost its lone original recruit in this class, Makaiah Williams, who asked to be released from his national letter of intent in February.
UW also is in search of a new assistant coach after Sundance Wicks accepted the head coaching position at Green Bay-Wisconsin. A source with knowledge of the situation says that an announcement will be made soon and things are being "finalized."