Wyoming coaches forged strong bond with Hunter Thompson

Hunter ThompsonHunter Thompson called University of Wyoming men’s basketball assistant Jeremy Shyatt shortly after deciding to decommit from Creighton.

That would surprise no one who followed the Pine Bluffs standout’s recruitment.

After all, the Cowboys were the runners-up for the 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward’s services when he announced his commitment to Creighton in mid-March. Back then, he talked about how hard his decision was and how good of a job UW had done recruiting him.

Many expected Thompson to commit to the Pokes shortly after he reopened his recruitment. He did just that Sept. 6. But that’s not why he called Shyatt. Continue reading

Pine Bluffs’ Hunter Thompson talks AAU basketball

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Pine Bluffs sophomore forward Hunter Thompson, right, has averaged 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1 steal across 55 games. Photo by Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

I first heard of Pine Bluffs’ Hunter Thompson playing AAU ball when my colleague Dave Shelles wrote this Prep Athlete of the Week feature on him in 2014. I heard more about it when my friend Jack Nowlin of the Casper Star-Tribune wrote this feature on Thompson to start the 2014-15 season.

I was really intrigued by the Utah portion of the 6-foot-10 sophomore’s AAU exploits that Nowlin wrote about. Cheyenne East graduate and current Toronto Raptors power forward James Johnson played with a Denver-based AAU team when he caught the attention of Division I schools in 2006. I know a few more Cheyenne kids have played with teams along the Front Range, the Cheyenne-based Wyoming Flight basketball program has also gotten off the ground in the past few years.

But it struck me as odd that Thompson would go to Utah for his AAU ball. Continue reading

BLOG BREAKDOWN: Cheyenne East boys basketball

EastJeff Bailey is confident entering his second season as the Cheyenne East boys basketball coach.

Taking a team from five wins to a 21-7 mark and third-place finish at the Class 4A state tournament has that effect on coaches. So does returning two all-state players.

More than anything, though, Bailey is just more comfortable in the lead chair and the responsibilities that come along with it.

“Any time you start something new, it’s a little intimidating,” Bailey said. “Now we have a foundation set and the kids know the expectations and we’re building off of a lot of good things that we saw from last year.” Continue reading

BLOCK BREAKDOWN: Cheyenne South boys basketball

SouthThe Bison finished last season 8-20 and reached the Class 4A state tournament for the second time in their mere four-year history in Wyoming’s top classification.

South graduated Kyhler Cummings, Robert Dilsaver and Adam Haberkorn, all of whom were four-year starters. Cummings is playing for Laramie County Community College, where he is averaging 3.4 points in eight games with the Golden Eagles (11-2 overall, 3-1 Region IX).

“I kind of feel like I should have graduated right along with them,” Bison coach Jim Shaffer joked. Continue reading

BLOG BREAKDOWN: Cheyenne Central boys basketball

CentralTagg Lain takes over a team that went 7-19 and placed fourth at the Class 4A state tournament in 2014.

The Indians graduated all-state guard Josh Fearing, who is suiting up for Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs. Fearing has played in nine games for the Mustangs (9-2).

Senior Tayton Montgomery also decided to skip basketball in favor of indoor track and field. Classmate Rhett Muchmore did the same, but with wrestling. Seniors Paul Sheppard and Blane Cowley also didn’t go out for basketball this season.

Those five players accounted for an average of 28.3 of Central’s 41.5 points per game, so they’re significant losses.

Here is what you should know about what Central will put on the court this winter: Continue reading

Reaction to Tagg Lain’s hire as Central boys hoops coach

Cheyenne Central hired Tagg Lain as its boys basketball coach on Saturday. You can read about that here. The response in my email and on Twitter to Lain’s hire has been overwhelmingly positive.

Lain has guided the Cheyenne American Legion Post 6 baseball team to 13 Wyoming Class AA championships and three runner-up finishes at the Northwest Regional tournament.

But what people might not know is that he’s also got an extensive basketball coaching background. Lain was an assistant for recently fired Indians coach Doug Moratzka during the 2011-12 season. He also coached sub-varsity squads under Lew Roney (1994-96), Kevin McLeod (1997-99) and Mike Jackson (2005-06).

Here’s what people are saying about the hire. Continue reading

FINAL 2013-14 Class 4A boys basketball statistics


Scoring: 1. Gillette 72.3; 2. Sheridan 62.1; 3. Rock Springs 58.3; 4. Laramie 55.2; 5. Cheyenne South 54.6; 6. Cheyenne East 53.9; 7. Casper Kelly Walsh 53.4; 8t. Riverton; Casper Natrona County 51.1; 10. Evanston 48.8; 11. Central 41.5; 12. Green River 37.1.

Defense: 1. Kelly Walsh 37.8; 2. East 46.8; 3. Evanston 48.9; 4. Central 49.3; 5. Riverton 50.7; 6. Natrona 51.9; 7t. Sheridan; South 55.6; 9. Rock Springs 58.4; 10. Gillette 58.8; 11. Laramie 62.8; 12. Green River 66.7. Continue reading

FINAL 2013-14 Class 4A girls basketball statistics


Scoring: 1. Gillette 61.1; 2. Sheridan 58.7; 3. Casper Natrona County 57.9; 4. Cheyenne East 56.8; 5. Cheyenne Central 43.2; 6. Rock Springs 41.9; 7. Riverton 41.6; 8. Casper Kelly Walsh 41.2; 9. Cheyenne South 37.7; 10. Laramie 37.4; 11. Green River 36.9; 12. Evanston 34.6.

Defense: 1. Natrona 36.0; 2t. East; Evanston 37.8; 4. Sheridan 44.1; 5. Laramie 45.5; 6. Central 46.1; 7. Green River 46.4; 8. Riverton 46.7; 9. Gillette 48.6; 10. Kelly Walsh 48.9; 11. South 49.3; 12. Rock Springs 50.0. Continue reading

March 12 Class 4A boys basketball statistics


Scoring: 1. Gillette 774.0; 2. Sheridan 62.1; 3. Rock Springs 59.0; 4. Cheyenne South 56.2; 5. Laramie 55.2; 6. Cheyenne East 54.3; 7. Casper Kelly Walsh 54.2; 8. Casper Natrona County 51.5; 9. Riverton 51.1; 10. Evanston 48.3; 11. Cheyenne Central 41.2; 12. Green River 37.1.

Defense: 1. Kelly Walsh 36.6; 2. East 46.8; 3. Evanston 47.4; 4. Central 49.3; 5. Riverton 50.7; 6. Natrona 53.1; 7. Sheridan 55.6; 8. South 56.8; 9. Rock Springs 58.6; 10. Gillette 60.5; 11. Laramie 62.8; 12. Green River 66.7. Continue reading

March 5 Class 4A boys basketball statistics


Scoring: 1. Gillette 75.3; 2. Sheridan 61.9; 3. Rock Springs 59.7; 4. Cheyenne South 55.7; 5. Laramie 55.0; 6. Cheyenne East 54.8; 7. Casper Kelly Walsh 54.3; 8. Riverton 52.1; 9. Casper Natrona County 50.8; 10. Evanston 49.4; 11. Cheyenne Central 39.5; 12. Green River 37.3.

Defense: 1. Kelly Walsh 37.4; 2. East 47.3; 3. Evanston 48.1; 4. Central 48.3; 5. Riverton 50.7; 6. Natrona 53.1; 7. Sheridan 55.0; 8. South 56.1; 9. Rock Springs 59.2; 10. Gillette 60.9; 11. Laramie 62.8; 12. Green River 66.9. Continue reading