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Matalon Leaves Cowboys


Staff member
From the Casper Star Tribune:

Wyoming guard Marios Matalon’s collegiate career consists of exactly three games.

If it ever gets any longer, UW first-year head coach Heath Schroyer announced during a Wednesday teleconference that it won't be with the Cowboys.

"Marios has decided to leave the program," Schroyer said. "We’re sorry to see Marios leave the program. We were looking forward to him growing as a player. Marios is a great young man, a great player and a great teammate.

"We wish him and his family nothing but the best. I know he’ll be successful whatever he decides to do the rest of his life."

Schroyer didn’t go into detail about the departure, but said at this stage, it usually comes down to not finding the right fit.

Wyoming sophomore guard Eric Platt said he and his teammates were a bit surprised, but harbor no ill-will towards their former teammate.

"It was different without him there," Platt said after practice on Wednesday. "I know all the guys miss him, but he's got some opportunities back in Greece and I think everyone wishes him all the best."

The freshman from Thessaloniki, Greece, sat out the first three games of the year to satisfy NCAA rules regarding international players, but came off the bench in three games for the Pokes.

He didn't play in Saturday's nine-point win over Colorado, and Schroyer said afterwards that the rookie was nursing a sprained ankle.

"He should be better by next Saturday," Schroyer said at the time. "He couldn't go through practice ... so we elected to play Brandon (Ewing) and Brad (Jones) about 38 (or) 39 minutes. We're looking forward to having him back."

Instead, without Matalon, Ewing and Jones can expect that workload to remain steady.

Matalon averaged under 12 minutes in his three contests and didn't score in any game, but he was expected to be relied on as a third ball-handler behind senior Brad Jones and junior Brandon Ewing.

"I don't think (Matalon's absence is) a big deal at all," Platt said. "Brad and Brandon can definitely handle that. They're used to playing lots of minutes.

"I don't think we're too stressed out about it at all. We've got a pretty good chemistry that's just been growing."

The departure may end up hurting the Cowboys more down the road. Not only do they lose a young guard, but their academic progress rate (APR) could take a hit.

The APR measures the eligibility and retention of student-athletes and the NCAA reduced the number of Wyoming scholarships this past spring when the latest version was released. The program scored an 881, mostly due to 10 Cowboys leaving since the 2003-04 season.

Teams that score less than 900 under the organization's formula cannot replace scholarships if an academically ineligible player then leaves the school. The maximum loss is 10 percent of the team's scholarships.

The latest version of the APR included rates from the 2005-06 school year.

Last season, Chris Anderson was declared academically ineligible and Aaron Henson and Ike Okoye transferred in April. The impact of those moves on UW's APR won't be known for another year, and Matalon's departure could complicate things even further down the road.

UW athletic director Tom Burman did not return a phone call seeking comment on Wednesday.
What do you guys think about how much this will affect the team?

Platt is right about Ewing and Jones being used to playing that many minutes, but that doesn't necessarily make it a good thing in my mind. At the Shootout, Jones was really struggling, and it would definitely have been nice to have that third ball handler around to come in and spell Jones and let him regroup on the bench for a minute.

And Brandon said at media day that it would be nice to keep his legs a little fresher down the stretch during conference play with a breather every once in a while.

I was very impressed with Matalon's game in what little I saw. I think it's a worse loss than a lot of the players might want to let on.

Plus, we just don't seem to have much of a bench right now anyway, and that's one less.

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