Recruiting season is endless for Larry Shyatt. The fifth-year Wyoming head basketball coach and hi
Recruiting season is endless for Larry Shyatt. The fifth-year Wyoming head basketball coach and his staff racked up frequent flyer miles over the weekend to attend big-time AAU tournaments. Shyatt hit an event in Indianapolis, associate head coach Scott Duncan visited Dallas and assistants Allen Edwards and Jeremy Shyatt spent time in Louisville, Kentucky, and Las Vegas, respectively. Those trips were primarily to observe rising juniors and seniors. "You can only go to sanctioned AAU events and you can only evaluate and watch," Larry Shyatt said, explaining the NCAA’s rules. "You can’t speak." The Cowboys
have one more pressing issue, though: filling the scholarship vacancy left by the departure of freshman forward Tyrell Williams last week. And that, Shyatt says, is why recruiting cycles tend to bleed together these days. Coaches are always on the lookout for potential players. "Recruiting never ends whether you do or don’t have a scholarship," Shyatt said. "The NCAA has put ourselves in a position now where there’s over 600 men’s Division I transfers every semester, which is a sad satire on our profession." Now, Shyatt’s job is to either land one of those transfers, or a junior-college or high school prospect. Wyoming loses five seniors to graduation and has already signed five players — junior-college transfer Morris Marshall and prep seniors Austin Conway, Justin James, Andrew Moemeka and Jordan Naughton — to fill those spots. Williams’ exit opened a sixth. "If I had my druthers, I’d want someone that could start for us and play right away, the whole Kumbaya," Shyatt said.
"But right now, what we have to do is, let’s get the best guy that’s the best fit. If we have to go into next year playing the hand we’re dealt with right now with an extremely young team, we do it." The Star-Tribune reported Thursday that three players were tentatively scheduled for official visits in the coming weeks: Dustin Thomas, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward who is leaving Colorado; Will Magarity, a 6-11 sophomore forward transferring from Boston College; and Maxwell Kupchak, a 6-7 prep senior forward from Los Angeles’ Brentwood School. All three are still on the market. Another player the Cowboys have had their eye on is Chris Boucher, a 6-10 sophomore forward from Northwest College in Powell who is listed as a four-star recruit by most national media outlets. He won the National Junior College Athletic Association’s player of the year award, making him highly sought-after among power conference programs. The Cody Enterprise reported earlier this month that Boucher had narrowed his choices from 15 schools to six: Minnesota, Oregon, TCU, Texas Tech, Washington State and Wyoming. But the Cowboys could be out of the running, especially after Minnesota coach Richard Pitino visited Powell last week. A source close to the UW program said the Cowboy coaching staff isn’t sure if Wyoming remains a favorite among Boucher’s finalists. Per NCAA rules, college coaches cannot comment on particular recruits.
But you can see a theme of what Shyatt is searching for. "If we had our choice, we would probably look for what we would call a ‘step-out four man,’" he said. "An interior player, for certain, but a step-out four who can stretch the floor. That would be in a perfect world." Another option for Wyoming is to find a fifth-year transfer — a player who has already completed his undergraduate degree, but still has a season of eligibility remaining. Those players are immediately eligible upon transfer, unlike Thomas and Magarity, who will have to sit out a year. The spring signing period lasts until May 15 for high school players.
There could also be some merit in waiting until later in the summer. Both VCU coach Will Wade and Texas coach Shaka Smart have had success in landing key contributors in June or July, but Shyatt describes himself as "not a guy with great patience." "There is a part of me that believes, like Shaka and Will are saying, let’s just wait, coach these guys a few more weeks (during spring practice sessions)," Shyatt said. "But I don’t want to pass on somebody who I think will be a good fit, too. (Laramie) is not an easy place to recruit to for basketball.
" So, he’ll likely plan to have someone signed by the time summer workouts begin in early June. "Even if we had an older team, they’ve got to be here for these nine weeks," Shyatt said. "That’s where we’ve made up more ground than anywhere, taking advantage of the new rules."