Apr 10, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorPat Rafferty didn't have a lot of time to adjust to being the new Central Wyoming College men's basketball coach last year.
Rafferty began full-time coaching duties on June 3. Before being hired at CWC, Rafferty was the director of basketball operations at Texas-Arlington.
The veteran coach had a just couple of months to assemble his players for the journey ahead.
"Since it's a couple weeks removed, I have had a chance to clear my mind and take a step back and see things in a big picture," said Rafferty on Wednesday morning.
The Rustlers ended the season with a 12-18 overall record.
CWC lost in the opening round of the Region IX postseason tournament, a heartbreaking 71-69 decision to North Platte.
"In the first year, I wanted to establish a culture in terms of how we were going to operate things and how effective our student athletes are on and off the court and in the classroom," Rafferty said.
CWC operated with a mixture of sophomores and first-year players on the roster.
"We can now build on those things and continue to add those types of people," Rafferty said.
Freshman Daryl Morgan Jr. paced CWC in scoring at 15.5 points per game. Sophomore Isaiah Tademy scored 10.4.
The Rustlers averaged 65.4 points per game and gave up 60.9.
"It's going to be huge to have returning sophomores who have bought into the understanding," Rafferty said. "They can help the freshmen transition into what we are about next fall. We didn't have that luxury last year."
Rafferty now will be coaching men's and women's golf at CWC along with basketball, beginning this fall.
"There are no easy games in Region IX," Rafferty said. "There are good coaches and good players."
In the Region IX semifinals, Gillette College beat North Platte 86-74. Northeastern Colorado eliminated Sheridan 90-79. In the title game, Northeastern Colorado won 119-110 in overtime.
"Out of the four teams in the semifinals, we played three out of the four," Rafferty said. "We beat one of them and we lost to the other two by two points."
CWC was 6-10 in conference play. The Rustlers were 2-5 at home and 4-5 on the road.
"I know that we are close," Rafferty said. "If we can continue to get the guys that we have better, then I expect us to make a big step next year."
Rafferty was recruiting at the Class 1-A and 2-A boys state basketball tournament last month in Casper and a week later at the Class 3-A and 4-A state tournament.
"It's good to know what is out there," Rafferty said. "During the regular season, it's hard to watch all of them play. It was really helpful for me to see the top teams play and the top players on those teams."
Rafferty hasn't officially signed any high school players yet for next season.
"We want to add the right type of guys to our program," Rafferty said.
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