Mar 27, 2014 - McClatchy NewspapersLARAMIE -- When looking back at this past men's basketball season, Larry Shyatt goes a little deeper.
The University of Wyoming coach looks at when he was hired prior to the 2011-12 season. He looks at wins and losses. His teams are 59-41, the most wins over a three-season period since 2000-03. The Cowboys qualified for the postseason the last three years, which also has not been done since 2000-03.
Shyatt looks at competing against the better teams in the Mountain West.
The Cowboys beat regular-season champion and then No. 5 San Diego State 68-62 at home this season and went to overtime twice before losing to MW Tournament champion New Mexico.
It also won games at Boise State (21 victories) and at home against Nevada (the third seed at the MW Tournament).
Nearly all of UW's games were close. It lost only three times by double figures. The Cowboys were 9-11 in games decided by eight points or less, and in 14 of their 15 losses they led or were tied in the second half.
UW also won games the previous two seasons at home against nationally ranked San Diego State, UNLV and Colorado.
Last, but not least, Shyatt looks at academics.
His players have five straight semesters with a 2.8 grade point average or better. And UW is in good standing with the NCAA's Academic Progress Rating system that penalizes programs for poor academics and retention.
UW was penalized for poor APR scores under previous coaching staffs.
"We are not satisfied where we are at. I don't think we will ever be satisfied," Shyatt said.
"But reflecting backward and moving forward, I think 'better' is probably more of a usable term."
As Shyatt and Co. completed an 18-15 season and 9-9 record in the MW -- its best finish in the league since 2004-05 -- there is still a lot of work to do.
Shyatt identified one area for immediate attention.
"I've been disappointed with the way I have not been able to develop total depth," he said.
UW did something this season it hasn't done in recent memory: redshirt multiple players. Forwards Alan Herndon and Keonta Vernon -- both true freshmen -- and sophomore guard Jason McManamen sat out.
Then UW lost its best player -- junior forward Larry Nance Jr. -- to a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 18.
And it later suspended redshirt junior guard Charles Hankerson Jr., its best bench player.
With not a lot of production or experience from the bench down the stretch, the Cowboys lost six of their last seven, capped by their most lopsided loss 59-43 at Texas A&M in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.
Where overall depth stands is uncertain.
UW loses two seniors in guards Nathan Sobey (9.8 points per game) and Jerron Granberry (6.1 ppg). Shyatt said Vernon, who was suspended indefinitely during the season, will transfer to Northern Arizona.
And Shyatt said the future of Hankerson will be decided after a meeting with him and his family. He remains suspended after being cited Feb. 22 for a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance of three ounces or less.
The case is still pending in Albany County Circuit Court, and no court date has been set.
Shyatt said he plans to meet soon with every player to discuss the goals, expectations and their future with the program. He added it would not shock or surprise him if somebody came in and wanted to leave the team.
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