One of the ugliest in-season, off-court headlines of last year came when Wyoming’s Luke Martinez was charged with felony aggravated assault and battery stemming from a bar fight on Dec. 30 that put one man in the hospital with serious facial injuries.
That incident, along with others the Cowboys have seen with other programs, has led to a few older players creating an alternative option to hitting downtown Laramie on the weekends.
Welcome to 624. Laramie’s newest club…. that you probably can’t get into. Unless, of course, you’re a member of the men’s basketball team.
The concept was created by Wyoming players Derek Cooke, Jr. (pictured at right) and Charles Hankerson, Jr., presumably as a way to avoid stuff like the Martinez incident in the future. In 624, they’ve found a way for players to hang out and have fun, and most of all, lessen the risk of any extracurricular trouble.
“Me and [Hankerson] Jr. kind of started it. It’s not always good for us to go downtown, so we figured we’d have our own fun,” Cooke told the Casper Tribune. “So we invite our teammates and friends over to our apartment, make sure it’s before quiet hours and just have a good time.”
The “club” mainly consists of college-kid stuff: video games, movies, just general hanging out. And that’s pretty cool considering that some of my best memories were made in nights like that in college.
The club is, if you haven’t figured out by now, the residence of Hankerson, Jr. and Cooke, Jr. It closes at midnight, when quiet hours start and every guest has to leave. The club is exclusively Wyoming basketball’s. And many of the biggest frequenters are freshman on the team.
Though not everyone has been to take part in Wyoming basketball’s newest program. Apparently senior Nate Sobey is playfully resilient to the place. For others, it’s just a matter of distance.
“I don’t go out there, it’s too far for me. But yeah, those are great guys, like I said. They’re always inviting everybody,” Redshirt senior Jerron Granberry told the Casper Tribune. “There’s no cliques. It just happened that those two guys live together, and they’re probably the two clowns of the team. They’re always making people laugh. It’s just a joy to be around them.”
This is a pretty solid idea by the leaders of this team. The Cowboys nose-dived last season after starting 13-0, and some of that had to do with Martinez’s arrest. The then-fifth-year senior was averaging 14.5 points and three rebounds before his arrest and subsequent suspension. His case is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 26-28 and he never played in another game for the Pokes. He’s also being sued by the victim’s family for $150,000 in damages.