LARAMIE -- Brendan Wenzel knew he had a big decision to make.

Thursday, he made it.

Wyoming's senior shooting guard announced on X that he will be entering the NCAA Transfer Portal with one year of eligibility remaining. Wenzel said he wants to pursue a school closer to his hometown, San Antonio, Texas.

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"Playing for the University of Wyoming has been the biggest blessing of my life," he penned on social media. "I can't thank coach (Jeff) Linder, coach (Ken) DeWeese and the coaching staff here enough for the development, the teaching of the game and for giving me a chance when they definitely didn't have to."

After a 74-63 victory over Air Force on senior night, Wenzel was asked if he planned to return to Laramie for the 2024-25 season. He said his focus was on closing out the season.

Linder said he wasn't planning to make a pitch to keep Wenzel in a Cowboys' uniform.

"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," Wyoming's head coach added. "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.

" ... 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, who earned an All-Mountain West Honorable Mention from the media in early March, averaged nearly 12 points and 5.1 rebounds while helping lead the new-look Cowboys to a 15-17 record last season. Wenzel shot better than 40% from the field, including 37.7% from deep while averaging more than 35 minutes a night.

The former three-star recruit out of O'Connor High School, hit double figures 18 times (15 during Mountain West play), including a season-best 25-point performance in a road win at Air Force. Wenzel averaged nearly 14 a night in league play and was often tasked with the toughest defensive assignment, shadowing the opponents' point guard.

That includes New Mexico's Donovan Dent, Colorado State's Isaiah Stevens, Nevada's Keenan Blackshear and many other playmakers who are currently suiting up in the NCAA Tournament.

Wenzel arrived in Laramie during the 2020-21 COVID-shortened season after transferring from the University of Utah. He was ineligible that season but quickly made a name for himself the following winter, helping lead Wyoming to an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Wenzel averaged just 5.2 points playing mainly off the bench that season, but stepped up big when his team needed him most. In a must-win game against UNLV in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, Wenzel netted 12 points -- including the final seven of the game -- in a 59-56 victory over the Rebels.

Wyoming would eventually fall to Indiana 66-58 in the First Four in Dayton.

Injuries were the main culprit for a nine-win campaign the following season. The league's preseason player of the year, Graham Ike, was sidelined with a lingering foot injury. Noah Reynolds was eventually held out of the lineup with concussion issues. Wenzel dealt with ailments of his own yet still managed to average 8 points per game.

Nine players entered the NCAA Transfer Portal after the season. Wenzel wasn't one of them.

Now, it's time.

"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," Wenzel said after that final home game. "Sad, but I was glad that, if this is my last game at the Double-A, I could go out with a win."

Freshman point guard Jacob Theodosiou and sophomore forward Caden Powell also announced this week that they would be entering the transfer portal. Linder and Co. now have two available scholarships and a possible third if Kenny Foster doesn't come back for his final season in Laramie.

The transfer portal is open until May 1.

Division-I programs are allowed up to 13 full-ride players on the roster. Here are Wyoming's scholarship players as of March 21, 2024:

Jonas Sirtautas

Oliver Faubert

Dominic Pangonis

Jehvion Starwood

Dylan Warlick

Oleg Kojenets

Kael Combs

Cameron Manyawu

Kobe Newton

Nigle Cook

* Kenny Foster

* Undecided on returning to program next season

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

Gallery Credit:

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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