In a tough spot

The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team isn’t even remotely close the “W” column at the moment. The Pokes haven’t beaten a worthy opponent in nearly two months, and fans have simply quit showing up. Can you blame them?

With that being said, could UW rid itself of men’s basketball head coach Allen Edwards after this season? Yes, that’s a possibility. Whether it’s in the cards or in the program’s best interest remains to be seen.

The Pokes lay claim to a 4-13 overall record and are on pace for their worst season since the mid 1970s. Edwards doesn’t deserve all the blame; however, he is the head coach so most should fall his way.

Wyoming has endured a pair of injuries to double-figure scorers in Hunter Maldonado (13.8 points per game) and Jake Hendricks (11.4 points per game). It was recently reported that starting point guard Ny Redding is being charged with simple assault and battery, stemming from an incident in downtown Laramie in early December. He has been suspended indefinitely since then, and I can’t imagine he will be retained after the most recent information.

Lwal Dung left the team a month ago, and Austin Mueller — who had started during the first month of the season — tore his anterior cruciate ligament in practice and is out for the season.

Hunter Thompson and Jordan Naughton have also missed games this season because of injuries.

So the cards dealt haven’t exactly been kind to Edwards. He currently has seven scholarshipped athletes at his disposal, when most of his opponents have north of 12 or 13 such players.

But should that excuse the play on the court? Justin James is still suiting up every game, and he was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference player last season. Thompson is a former four-star recruit that’s averaging double figures in points scored.

I’m not saying Edwards should be winning every game or even a lion’s share of the games this season, but to be this inept right now in a MWC having a down year is indefensible. Wyoming hasn’t come within 12 points of any conference foe so far and hasn’t beaten a Division I opponent since Dec. 5. And the fans have taken notice. The Arena-Auditorium has only eclipsed the 4,000-fan threshold once this season. And with 4,000 fans, the Dome of Doom is a whopping 35 percent filled.

Now, is it in Wyoming’s best interest to move on from Edwards? In his first two seasons, Edwards did win 20 games, however, those were with former head coach Larry Shyatt’s players. Also, five of the 23 wins in Edwards’ inaugural season occurred in the underwhelming CBI tournament.

It wouldn’t be the greatest look for UW to fire a coach after one bad season, following a pair of 20-win seasons. That would make it immensely more difficult to hire the next head coach. Who would want the UW job? What kind of coach would want to put themselves in that type of a situation, and how many years would that set the program back?

Again, I’m not saying UW should move on from Edwards, but this season should raise some serious questions. And it should certainly put Edwards on a very short leash going into next season.

 

Poke Notes

The University of Wyoming wrestling team rallied to beat Oregon State 22-16 Sunday, winning the last three bouts.

UW’s women’s basketball team fell at Utah State 50-42 Saturday, dropping to 9-4 overall and 2-2 in Mountain West Conference play.

UW’s Tessa van Der Ploeg was awarded Mountain West Conference Tennis Player of the Week.

By |Jan. 18, 2019|

About the Author:

Bud Denega joined The Sheridan Press in November 2017 as the primary sports reporter. He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Wyoming. Prior to working in Sheridan, Bud spent time as a sports reporter for the Minot Daily News in Minot, North Dakota, before being a sports reporter for the Laredo Morning Times in Laredo, Texas. Email Bud at: bud.denega@thesheridanpress.com

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