Linder Makes Cowboy Coaching Debut With First Official Workout Thursday

Tracy Ringolsby

From the desk of Nicholas Peter Seeman/Wyoming Athletic Department

Laramie – The Cowboy basketball program will hit the court for their first official practice under head coach Jeff Linder on Thursday morning. The Cowboys return four players, eaching spending time in the starting lineup last season. Wyoming also welcomes eight newcomers from a recruiting class ranked as the best in the MW according to Rivals.com.

“It has been exciting being in the gym with our guys, we have been working hard since July and are ready for our first practice,” Linder said. “Cowboy fans are going to see student-athletes that will be everyday guys. We want them in the gym doing what they need to get better every day.”

The NCAA announced last month that teams could start playing contests on Nov. 25 giving the Pokes 41 days inside of the Arena-Auditorium to prepare for the season.

“We really want to use 7220 to our advantage,” Linder said. “You have to be mentality tough to survive games here in Laramie and we are trying to build that mind set to be a well-conditioned team.”

Last week, 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.

Cowboy Notables

- Jeff Linder was named the 22nd head coach in Wyoming history on March 17, 2020. He led Northern Colorado to three-straight 20-win seasons.

- Linder has posted an impressive 80-50 (.615) record in four seasons at Northern Colorado. He was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year during the 2018-19 season leading the Bears to 15 conference wins for a program record. The Bears tied that record of 15 conference wins again in the 2019-20 season. Over the last three seasons, Linder led UNC to the most wins during a three-year stretch in program history, with 69 wins. The Bears also finished in the top-100 of the NCAA NET Rankings.

- All four returning Cowboys spent time in the starting lineup last year. Hunter Maldonado started all 33 games. Hunter Thompson started 23 games. Kwane Marble II started 11 games. Kenny Foster started six games for the Pokes.

- The Cowboys return three of their top four scorers from last season. Hunter Maldonado added 15.8 points per game. Hunter Thompson and Kwane Marble II were tied for third on the team adding 8.2 points per game.

- The Cowboys return nearly 50 percent of its scoring from last year from the four returners. That group collected 111 three-pointers.

- The Pokes also return their top two rebounders in Hunter Maldonado at 5.8 rebounds per game and Hunter Thompson at 4.1 per game.

- Wyoming added seven players during the signing period. The seven signees helped the Pokes rank No. 53 in the nation and top in the Mountain West in recruiting according to Rivals.com.

- Last season, Hunter Maldonado earned Third Team All-Mountain West by members of the media and was an All-MW Honorable Mention selection by the conference coaches. He led the team in scoring (15.8), rebounds (5.8) and assists (4.0).

- Kwane Marble II earned a spot on the Mountain West All-Tournament Team. He averaged 19.7 points per game in the tournament and was the first freshman to score 20 points in multiple MW Tournament games.

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