LARAMIE, Wyo. — Allen Edwards has a bit more familiarity this time around.
The Wyoming men’s basketball coach enters his second season at the helm Friday, when the Cowboys begin practice in preparation for the 2017-18 season.
“After one year under our belts, playing the new style, I feel like we’re going into the year with more of a veteran group with four seniors and now two juniors that I think really can have a tremendous impact on the program,” Edwards said. “Also excited about the incoming guys. … Like I told the staff, I think it’s a great position to be in as far as the amount of talent we feel like we have in the program.”
Edwards’ Cowboys went 23-15 overall in his debut, ending the year with a CBI championship.
“A lot of things have slowed down in a sense of going through this process the second time around,” he said. “Not that you’re complacent in a sense of the day-to-day things, but you’re just little bit more comfortable within that process.”
That extends to the players, Edwards said, even though there is a new trio of freshmen in the mix.
“I thought a lot of last year was implementing and getting guys to understand what we were trying to do,” Edwards told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/2fCBdDY). “This year, outside of the incoming freshmen — and I thought they (caught) on pretty good — now it’s more about taking the intensity to the next level. From a mindset but even from practice, because our guys are now used to all the things we’ve done, and we can probably start a little bit earlier in the sense of implementing newer stuff.
“There were still things that we really didn’t get to last year, because I just felt like it was getting to a point where it was too much. But now with a veteran group and having this year under their belt with some of the things we did last year, we don’t necessarily have to spend as much time on it, to where we can probably progress a little more quicker than we did last year.”
In addition to talent, Edwards is happy with the physical development of his team, which lost two seniors and two transfers from the 2016-17 squad.
“Justin James has done a great job of almost separating himself in a sense of not only his talent but his work ethic,” Edwards said. “When he’s out there running, (he’s) winning a majority of the sprints and races or whatnot. His body is looking really good. He put on probably about 10 pounds. I think Al Herndon put on about 15. So his body is looking good. Hayden Dalton has put on about 10. Andrew Moemeka between 10 and 15.
“So (director of player development Matt) Wise has done a great job just from our conversations over the summer, going into this year, what my intentions were for his position and what we needed to work on with our guys. But the weight and the strength was a big key, and then the other key was just intensity and our stamina. Because I still want our guys to be able to run all day. I want to be the best-conditioned team in the country.”
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com