Cowboys Basketball Responds to Focused Work in Weight Room

Tracy Ringolsby

From the desk of Nick Seeman\Wyoming Athletic Department

Laramie – The Wyoming Cowboys basketball team is entering the second week of practice under head coach Jeff Linder. The Pokes had a great base this summer with individual and team workouts to go along with time in the weight room. The Cowboys saw some great gains this summer under new sports performance coach Jimmy Edel.

“Coach Edel is an invaluable member of this staff and to have him working with the guys, a younger team, and the gains that group has made will only help us in the long run,” Linder said. “He did a great job for our staff at Northern Colorado and knows what I want in the weight room and on the court. He also does a great job to make sure those things correlate.”

Edel spent four season with Linder at Northern Colorado before heading to Laramie to work with the Cowboys. Edel got started with his plan for the Cowboy players as soon as the NCAA announced plans for workouts this summer.

“I was worried about new guys not being ready with lack of access to workouts with the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Edel said. The group came in ready to go, which allowed us to build a great base and avoid injuries. I was pleased with how we have gotten strong in a wide variety of areas. But the best way to get in shape is to play at a high pace and with intent.”

One thing to look at is the body transformation of some veterans and newcomers. Junior Hunter Thompson dropped eight pounds to 230. Fellow big man Graham Ike, a freshman, dropped 12 pounds and is currently 236. 

Some notable weight gains included sophomore Kwane Marble II up 11 pounds to 203. Transfer Eoin Nelson added eight pounds to 235. Freshman Marcus Williams added 13 pounds and is now at 191. Fellow freshman Xavier DuSell added seven pounds to 190.

The Pokes worked on their lower bodies this summer and the numbers have shown. The team average vertical stands at 35.75”. Two Cowboys have 40 inch verticals -- junior Drake Jeffries (40.75”) and Jeremiah Oden (40”).

Wyoming tests all summer and fall using force plate data, an isometric mid-thigh pull max force production. The team's starting average was 624 pounds of force prior to the first practice. That number now stands at 799 pounds of force. Thompson made the biggest gain starting at 557 pounds of force and prior to practice was at 879 pounds of force.

“We do a lot of lower body work with our guys and I put a lot of stock in the force plate data,” Edel said. “The group made great improvements with all our guys testing up significantly.”

Other testing numbers included a bench press increase average for the team that is up nearly 20 pounds. Front squat team numbers moved up 12 pounds with Nelson, sophomore Kenny Foster and junior Hunter Maldonado maxing out at 275 pounds. Also the team deadlift average was 418 pounds Marble and Maldonado over 450 pounds.

The Pokes work in the weight room also showed in their running abilities. During testing of a three-quarter court sprint, the Pokes averaged a time of 3.47 seconds. Jeffries was the fastest at 3.28 seconds.

“Our coaching staff puts an emphasis on not getting beat outside,” Edel said. “I watch for that during our practices, looking at how the hips move and slide. I want strong hips so are guys are mobile. We want strong hips and ankles to translate on the floor. My number one goal throughout the season is the movement of our players.”

The Mountain West announced an 18-game conference schedule that will open on Dec. 29. Non-conference contests along with ticket information will be released in the coming weeks.

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