LAS VEGAS, Nev., -- Hunter Maldonado returned to Laramie for a sixth season for a number of reasons.

His head coach. His legacy. You.

During an emotional postgame press conference Wednesday night in Las Vegas, just minutes after Wyoming's trying year -- and Maldonado's career -- came to an end with a 87-76 loss to New Mexico in the quarter-finals of the Mountain West Tournament, the senior spoke about his love for the Cowboy faithful.

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"The fans mean a lot because I know the ones that come out and show out every single day, the ones that support us every day through and through versus the ones that don't," he said, cracking a brief smile between the sniffles and tears. "The ones that don't, I don't care if they say anything. The ones that have stayed there and supported us even from our freshman year ... I know who they are and I appreciate them just as much. They've helped me. That's why I stayed, is for them. They're a big reason because I know how much love and how much love they have for us and how far that can actually go in life.

"I've met some really, really good people there."

Maldonado netted a career-high 36 points against the Lobos. He sank four triples and attempted 12 shots from the free-throw line, sinking 10. It was a vintage performance from the Colorado Springs product, who for the fourth straight season earned All-Mountain West honors.

The versatile guard is the only player in Division-I history to score more than 2,000 points, pull down 800 rebounds and dish out 600 assists.

That's special stuff.

Let's take a look at what those fans had to say about the career of one of the greatest players to ever lace them up in Laramie:

Clay Daniel Cates (Facebook) Greats come and go but he was here for 6 years.... crazy to think about. It's hard to imagine the team without him.

Ralph Marts (Facebook) Great game maldo Glad you chose Wyoming for 6 years

Jerri Donahue (Facebook) So true, never will see another like him. Will never forget Maldo

Aaron Wilhelm (Facebook) Really gonna miss that kid

Patrick Green (Facebook) We witnessed greatness. What a pleasure it was to watch this talented humble young man. He is what a leader is suppose to be. Farewell Maldo. What a joy it was to watch you.

Carli Bassett (Facebook) Thank you Maldo for being a true Cowboy. Loyal, hard working , never giving up. True greatness!

Gordon Clyde Gephart (Facebook) Thank you Maldo, it's been fun watching you. Hope to see you on the next level. Best wishes to you and your family

Rod van Pelt (Facebook) So enjoyed watching this very talented, hard working, classy Cowboy. You will never be replaced, Maldo. Good Luck to you in your next chapter of life!

Butch Sommerville (Facebook) He was one of the best wish him the best in his future whatever he does

Tim R. Gonzales (Facebook) One word...Respect!!!

Dave Denham (Facebook) Thank you Maldo for a great 6 yeas-maybe you can help recruit another player as awesome and classy as you are!!!!

Aneilia Snider (Facebook) God Bless you Hunter. You gave us great basketball and stayed a Cowboy. Now you are ALWAYS A COWBOY and what it stands for. We will always be rooting for you. Thank you.

Ben Meyer (Facebook) Good luck Maldo, it's been awesome to watch you

Dennis Daniel (Facebook) A true Cowboy LEGEND!!!

Terry Hodges Graham (Facebook) A Wyoming Cowboy we will always remember.

Senior Sendoff: Hunter Maldonado & Hunter Thompson

Today we celebrate the careers of Wyoming basketball players Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson, who tonight will play their last game inside the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie

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