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MWC Basketball Pre-Season Media Day Picks


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Wyoming Cowboys Picked to Finish Sixth By MWC Media

The Mountain West Conference announced its 2009-10 preseason men's basketball selections during the league's media day.

Wyoming's Afam Muojeke (11) and head coach Heath Schroyer are pictured together during the 2009 CBI game in Laramie.

Wyoming's Afam Muojeke (11) and head coach Heath Schroyer are pictured together during the 2009 CBI game in Laramie.

Oct. 6, 2009

DENVER, Colo. -

# MWC Press Release

The Wyoming Cowboys were voted to finish sixth in 2009-10, as the Mountain West Conference released its men's basketball preseason media poll and all-Conference team today at the league's media day being held at The Mtn. studios in Denver, Colo.

The Cowboys return two starters and five letterwinners from a 2008-09 squad that finished 19-14 overall, 7-9 in the MWC. Last season, Wyoming reached the postseason for the 23rd time in school history, an invitation to the College Basketball Invitational, and made a trip to the semifinals of the MWC Tournament after upsetting New Mexico. UW's Afam Muoeke was named MWC Freshman of the Year.

Conference media picked BYU as the preseason favorite to win the MWC men's basketball regular-season title in 2009-10. The Cougars, one of three teams to share the regular-season crown in 2008-09, captured 23 of 24 first-place votes and 215 points for the top spot in the poll. San Diego State, the 2009 MWC Tournament runner-up, collected the remaining first-place vote and 166 points to finish in second, followed closely by UNLV in third with 161 points. Utah and New Mexico, who split the 2008-09 MWC regular-season title with BYU, landed in the fourth- and fifth-place spots, respectively, with the Utes tallying 143 points to the Lobos' 141 points. Wyoming received 89 points to finish sixth, followed by TCU (82 points) in seventh, Colorado State (58 points) in eighth and Air Force (25 points) in ninth to round out the poll.

Over its 10-year history, the Mountain West Conference has received 22 bids to the NCAA Tournament, including 13 at-large berths. The MWC has had at least one at-large qualifier in nine of those 10 years, including eight straight. Since 2003, all nine MWC teams have participated in postseason play at least once.

Three juniors and two seniors representing four institutions were chosen for the 2009-10 preseason all-MWC team. SDSU junior Billy White, TCU senior Zvonko Buljan, UNLV junior Tre'Von Willis, as well as BYU junior Jimmer Fredette and senior Jonathan Tavernari made up the five-man team. Fredette received Preseason MWC Player of the Year honors, while UNLV's Derrick Jasper garnered Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades and San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard collected Preseason Freshman of the Year kudos.

Rank School (First-Place Votes) Points
1. BYU (23) 215
2. San Diego State (1) 166
3. UNLV 161
4. Utah 143
5. New Mexico 141
6. Wyoming 89
7. TCU 82
8. Colorado State 58
9. Air Force

What did we expect? These are the media picks and the majority of the media is in Utah. But in reality for the Pokes, we need for this team to prove them wrong once again. I think we could be better than 6th, but once again we have to prove it. We lost our 3 major scorers from last year, but look who we have coming in.

Afam Muojeke (F) - MWC FOY - with a year of experience under his belt.
Adam Waddell(C/PF) - with a year of experience under his belt (two years in the system).
JayDee Luster(G) - the players and coaches thought enough of him to name him captain.
Thomas Manzano(G) - I have heard nothing but good things about him.
Arthur Bouedo(G) - Injured last year, but this is his 2nd year in the system.
Ryan Dermody(F) - Injured most of last year, he's our only senior this year.
Djibril Thiam(F) - with a year of experience under his belt - showed steady improvement all last season.
Boubacar Sylla(C) - 7' 2" Practiced with the team all last season
A.J. Davis(G) - This one may surprise everyone.

We have a lot of scoring to make up for and some new starters, but we'll have to wait and see how they come together as a team.
Im so excited for this years team i think we have a lot to show w/o ogirri and Ewing the scoring loud will be put mainly on Afam who has the most points ever in the MWC for a Freshman and it sounds like he is hungry and works hard one mock draft has him as the 30th pick after his junior year the kid can play, luster sounds like a born leader... Waddell and Sylla are our main two posts t sounds like and with Sylla being 7 2 he could be a presence to say the least
This is exactly where the media had to put us. I'm actually surprised TCU wasn't picked ahead of us to be honest. That being said, I think we will finish at least 5th and I wouldn't be surprised to see us end up 4th. This team has a ton of talent, but not a lot of experience playing together which will hold them back this year. I fully expect this team to compete for a MWC crown is 2010-11.

I might be the only one, but all these people talking about Afam carrying the offensive load scares the shit out of me. He wasn;t even the first option on offense last year and he often forced things which resulted in turnovers or low percentage shots. If he does that a mjority of times down the floor this year, then we are in major trouble. However, I don't believe it will be Afam carrying the offensive load. I had a chance to watch Thomas Manzano live this summer and I've also watched a fair amount of film on him as well. This guy will easily be our biggest offensive threat. He knows how to get to the hoop and finish and has a decent medium/long range jumper. I also think fans wil be pleasantly surprised by the improvements Thiam has made. He will be a rock defensively and has improved his offensive game as well.

I hate to say it, but Sylla isn't cutting it. He is just another tall, weak player who lacks coordination and will get pushed around and owned by players he has 6-7 inches on. I was pretty excited when we got him, but after watching him live, I've pretty much written him off. Waddell is our best post player and that isn't saying much. I like the kids intensity and hustle, but he just doesn't have the talent to be a top level big man in the MWC. He would be a perfect 6th man though.

Anyways, I'm definitely looking forward to this season. We should see improvement over last year once again. I'm expecting another post-season tournamnent...maybe the NIT?
I agree next season (10/11) is shaping up to be the best in many years. Afam improved a great deal last season and I expect to see more maturity this year. The same can be said for Adam Waddell. I thought the officials whistling him everytime he made a power move on both offense and defense hurt him the first part of last season, but at the end of the season he was learning how to make those moves without getting whistled. I have not seen Sylla play or even practice, so I have no idea of what to expect from him. The potential is there to be a strong team - expecially the last half of the season.
Thanks for the insight TheRealUW. I hope you are wrong about Sylla. I was hoping he could contribute on the defensive end. Even if he doesn't score much, if he can play good defense he could be a big help for us. As for Afam, I for one am excited that he will be relied on more this year. Early in the season he took some ill advised shots and turned the ball over way too often, but at the end of the season I thought he was, along with Ogirri, our best offensive threat. He did shoot a better percentage than Ewing and Ogirri, by the way. Given the nature of our perimeter players--Manzano, Luster, Davis, and Afam--our strength should be getting to the rim. Opposing teams will probably crowd the lane as much as possible so if we can shoot the three we could be a very dangerous team. Who are our best shooters, any thoughts?
Im sure Afam improved his outside game which was decent and i saw luster shooting one day and he seemed to be lights out but that was with noone on him and all the time in the world i think mananzo is a shooter
UW44 said:
Who are our best shooters, any thoughts?

We don't have any true shooters on this team which is a bit worrisome. We have a few decent shooters (Luster, Manzano, Afam), but our game will be driving the ball to the basket and everybody knows it. If I were opposing teams, I would sit in a zone against us all day and dare us to beat them with the jumper. I'm not sure we can do that at this point. That being said, this team is athletic enough to get to the basket anytime they want, especially Manzano. This guy is the best at getting to the hole that I've seen at UW in the last 10 years. I have a hunch this guy will be a strong contender for MWC Newcomer of the year. You guys are going to love Luster. The guy has handles and quicks that I haven't ever seen before. His vision and ability to see tiny passing lanes is pretty impressive and will lead to us getting looks at the basket that most point guards would never see. This is going to be one interesting season.
Is Mananzo a JC transfer? where have you seen him play i think we have a good chance of contending as long as everything clicks for our squad
The only thing that worries me is when we get someone under the basket and JayDee fires a pass to them, we catch it and finish it. We left too many points out there last year by not finishing the play. I'm looking forward to seeing our improved defense this year - especially JayDee picking their pockets.
gopokes1399 said:
Is Mananzo a JC transfer? where have you seen him play

Yes, Manzano is a JC transfer. He will be a sophmore. Only played one year in JC and was a star. He is originally from Brooklyn, NY and was being looked at heavily by big programs coming out of high school but failed to qualify. I believe he then went to a prep school and still failed to qualify coming out of there so decided to go the JC route. I watched him play pick-up ball this summer in Laramie. The dude is one sweet athlete. I hope you all are ready for this guy.

WYCowboy said:
The only thing that worries me is when we get someone under the basket and JayDee fires a pass to them, we catch it and finish it. We left too many points out there last year by not finishing the play. I'm looking forward to seeing our improved defense this year - especially JayDee picking their pockets.

Luster is very, very good at getting steals. I am a bit worried about other teams with taller point guards isolating Luster on the block if we play man to man. The kid will need to be tough to deal with a guy 6-8 inches taller and 100 lbs heavier than he is down in the paint. He better be ready for some physical battles, because if I saw a guy the size of him on the opposing roster, I would sure as hell take advantage of it. I think AJ Davis will do a decent job off the bench to keep Luster fresh so that he isn't too worn out to use his quicks on the offensive end.

Some other observations...Desmar Jackson will likely see playing time this year. There is no doubt this guy is a freshman...he looks very, very green sometimes...but he has some ridiculous athleticism. If he is able to learn how to work his athleticism into this offensive scheme, he has the potential to be a star in this league. Amath M'Baye has a huge upside. I think he needs a year in the program to really get things going, but we will be seeing a lot of him in the coming years.

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