There are few players in college basketball as important to their team as Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams. Adams, averaging 24.2 points per game, leads the Cowboys in points, rebounds, assists and steals on the season and is a candidate for Mountain West Player of the Year honors. Unfortunately for head coach Larry Shyatt, Adams won’t be available when the Cowboys welcome of the conference’s best teams in Boise State Saturday.
The Mountain West announced Friday afternoon that Adams has been suspended one game for his actions in the Cowboys’ loss to Nevada earlier in the week. According to the conference there were multiple violations of the league’s rules on sportsmanship, resulting in the suspension.
Adams, who was assessed a technical foul in the game, wasn’t the only player to receive some kind of discipline from the Mountain West. Nevada’s Cameron Oliver was reprimanded for his being ejected from the game after receiving two technical fouls within just over a minute of game action.
Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal provided the details on the incident that led to both Adams and Oliver receiving technical fouls.
After being raked across the face by Wyoming’s Jason McManamen during a battle for a loose ball, Oliver pushed McManamen, who fell to the ground. Oliver was one of three players assessed a technical foul on the play (the others were Wyoming’s Trey Washington III and Josh Adams).
Oliver picked up a second technical foul 64 seconds later when he clapped following a Wyoming timeout aimed to quell a 12-1 Nevada run. The second technical, with 12:48 remaining in the game, triggered an automatic ejection. The MW said Oliver being assessed two Class A technical fouls violated provisions of Mountain West Rule 4-Sportsmanship.
Oliver will be available to play in Nevada’s game against UNLV, but Adams was not as fortunate. Without Adams, who coach Shyatt planned to bring off the bench as a result of his technical foul, Wyoming has a lot of production to account for against a team that includes the likes of James Webb III, Nick Duncan and Anthony Drmic.
With four starters from last season’s NCAA tournament team having exhausted their eligibility, there’s a lot of playing time up for grabs for the Wyoming Cowboys as they approach the start of practices. One player looking to earn minutes for Larry Shyatt is redshirt sophomore guard Trey Washington III, who sat out all of last season due to a lingering foot injury.
Unfortunately for Washington his return to the court hit a bump in the road, as it was reported Friday that he’s been sidelined with a knee injury. The good news is that the MRI on Washington’s knee showed that there was no major damage, and he’s been declared to be “day-to-day” by team trainer Lance Schuemann. Washington suffered the injury during individual workouts.
Wyoming returns Josh Adams (12.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.6 apg), who led the team in assists and was second in scoring behind Los Angeles Lakers draft pick Larry Nance Jr. as a junior. But after him, no returning Cowboy averaged more than 3.7 points per game (guard Jason McMenamen).
As a freshman in 2013-14 the 5-foot-11 Washington played in 29 games as Wyoming’s backup point guard, averaging 3.0 points in just under ten minutes per game.
The Dome of Doom is one of the most difficult places to play in all of college sports. Located at 7,220 feet above sea level the elevation of Wyoming’s home arena — and 15,000-plus screaming fans — makes it nearly impossible to win games on the road there. Head coach Larry Shyatt is 60-15 at home the past four years as Wyoming’s head coach and power conference programs seem to want no part of playing a non-conference game there.
In a story from the Associated Press late this week, Shyatt revealed how he’s tried to do everything he can to schedule major conference opponents to come and play in Wyoming. The Cowboys will draw Cal at the Dome of Doom this season, but it was a deal in which Wyoming had to play two road games to make the one home game happen. The school hasn’t had a true home-and-home arrangement with a power conference program since Washington State over a decade ago.
Only four power conference programs have played a road game at Wyoming since 1997 and none since the 2004-05 season. Having been a member of staffs at bigger basketball programs like Clemson and Florida, Shyatt understands the scheduling conundrum, but he’d still like to draw some big-name opponents in his home arena.
“They’re not playing us, and quite honestly, if I was the head coach at Colorado or Florida, I don’t know if I would come to Laramie unless they’d play in October, September, August, July or June,” Shyatt said to the AP. “If I’m thinking selfishly of my university, what am I getting? What are we getting? What’s our league getting? Tough call.”
As the AP story notes, Wyoming has entered some in-season tournaments to try to beef up the schedule the next few seasons, but this is just another example of a program from a non-power league having a tough time getting major teams to play them at home. If Wyoming and other Mountain West programs hope to continue to make at-large NCAA tournament appearances, they need to try to get some kind of scheduling bump at home if they can. Coming off of four consecutive postseason appearances, it’s doubtful any power conference team wants to travel to Wyoming but it will be interesting to see if these sorts of things change in the next couple of years.