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Cowboy hoops coach says academic results a program highlight

May 13, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

University of Wyoming men's basketball coach Larry Shyatt is not satisfied with what his team has accomplished in the past three years on the basketball court.

But he is proud of the way his players are performing in the classroom compared to when he took over the program for a second stint as head coach.

Shyatt was in Riverton on Friday for the annual Cowboy Joe Club golf tournament at the Riverton Country Club.

"We started with a program that has gone back-to-back seasons with 10 wins and 21 losses," Shyatt said. "We started with a program academically that had a 1.85 grade-point average as a team."

The Cowboys have improved in both areas, but Shyatt says there is more to come.

"We have been able to flip that for an extend of three years averaging 20 wins and coming in the highest in the Mountain West Conference at 9-9 in a decade," Shyatt said. "Last but not least, we have had five straight semesters of having a 2.8 grade -point average."

UW was eliminated by Texas A&M 59-43 during the College Basketball Invitational opening round to wrap up the 2013-14 season.

The Pokes were 18-15 on the season and 9-9 in the Mountain West Conference.

After 12-1 start, Wyoming struggled in the Mountain West Conference schedule and was hurt late in the season by the loss of tar forward Larry Nance Jr.

Golf tournaments

The UW basketball coach didn't play golf in Riverton, but he addressed the crowd after the golfers were finished.

"The golf tournaments are very important because they are times to get out and thank people and thank many of our loyal fans for being the family that we have," Shyatt said.

"It's the best time of the year to do that."

Shyatt makes it a point to attend at least 10 to 12 golf tournaments around the state.

"I hope the fans understand what we have been through in the three years when we got the program and where we are now," Shyatt said.

Recruiting class

Shyatt just added Alexander Gorski from Sweden to the program with a national letter of intent.

Gorski is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds . He will have four years of eligibility with the Pokes.

Gorski, a shooting guard, played on a prep team in Wichita, Kan.

Shyatt also signed Tyrell Williams to a letter of intent in April.

Williams is from Miami, Fla. He is 6-9, 225-pound forward.

Williams played last season at Norland High School.

The team finished the year at 27-5 overall and won a third straight Class 6-A state championship.

Williams averaged 7.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

"Our thought process was that we wanted to solidify the future," Shyatt said. "These young men are a good fit. Their families are good fit."

Nance update

Nance suffered a season-ending knee injury Feb. 18 against Fresno State in Laramie and is on track to return for his senior season with UW.

"All the indications from the doctors and the trainers and Larry are that he is doing well," Shyatt said in Riverton.

"He doesn't have any pain. He probably has three to four weeks left in the healing process."

Nance ranked 11th in the MWC at 14.5 points per game and eighth in rebounds at 7.8.

"After the (healing) process, he can probably start the light jogging production that he needs to get back his legs," Shyatt said.

Despite being hurt, Nance was named first-team all MWC.

"Larry means a great deal to the program on and off the court," Shyatt said.

The Cowboys struggled to the finish line with Nance on the bench in street clothes.

"We were probably never the same team the last five games as we were earlier," Shyatt said.

Offseason

Shyatt is meeting with all of his players the last couple of weeks before letting them leave Laramie for four weeks.

The players will come back to Laramie for nine weeks in June and July.

UW officials currently working on the coming schedule, which will be released in August by the MWC.

"We have made our schedule more difficult," Shyatt said.

Last year, UW played Ohio State, Colorado and Denver University in non-conference games.

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