Wyoming Basketball Preview: Guards

by Basketball

This is part two of our 2011-2012 Wyoming basketball preview, in part one the coaches were discussed and today we focus on the guard position.

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown 
1 JayDee Luster G 5-9 160 Sr. San Diego, CA
2 Arthur Bouedo G 6-4 185 Sr. Aix en Provence, France
3 Shakir Smith G 6-1 165 Fr. Tucson, AZ
10 Derrious Gilmore G 5-9 165 Jr. Baltimore, MD
12 Riley Grabau G 6-2 170 Fr. Boulder, CO
13 Jack Bentz G 6-0 170 Fr. Chagrin Falls, OH
25 Luke Martinez G 6-4 175 R-Jr. Bismarck, ND
33 Francisco Cruz G 6-3 217 Sr. Nogales, Mexico

The Cowboys return four guards from last years team including redshirt-junior Luke Martinez who did not play at all last year after suffering a broken elbow just before the 2010-2011 campaign. Four newcomers join the existing group and each of them excluding walk-on Jack Bentz have a legitimate shot at getting into coach Shyatt’s rotation at some point this season. Follow us after the jump to get the low down on this year’s players at the guard position.

When you are talking the guard position for Wyoming this season the conversation has to start with senior Francisco Cruz who had a solid season after transferring to Wyoming from Western Nebraska Community College. Cruz is the team’s top returning scorer after averaging 10.0 points a game, he also was a major threat from deep hitting 48 three point shot’s at a 38% clip and this year he will be expected to provide much of the same if not more. Backing up Cruz will be Luke Martinez who was a top scorer at Williston State College averaging 19.7 points a game two seasons ago. Martinez should to be able to spell Cruz often and they both could see time on the floor together giving the Cowboys two deep shooting threats that should help open up space in the paint.

Next to Cruz and Martinez at shooting guard the Pokes return point guard JayDee Luster who has had two less than stellar season’s wearing the brown and gold so far. Luster has been often injured and very ineffective in his shooting only hitting 33% of his shots while also being a defensive liability at times. The good news for Luster is coach Shyatt has started his return to Laramie with a clean slate for all players and he will get his chance to show Shyatt what he can do in the new system. Also in the mix at point guard this year will be JUCO transfer Derrious Gilmore who is very similar to Luster is size and pace. Gilmore comes to Wyoming highly recommended to Shyatt by West Virginia coach Bob Huggins who did not have room for the Baltimore product in his program in Morgansville. Gilmore should receive plenty of playing time and has a very good chance of being the starting point guard if Luster’s form from the past two year’s does not improve.

Other guards on the roster who should see playing time this year are Arthur Bouedo, Shakir Smith and Riley Grabau. Bouedo is a senior but through his first three years he has played very little (minutes wise) and provided next to nothing on the offensive end of the floor scoring only 2.6 points a game in 30 appearances last year. Bouedo is a hard working player on the defensive side of the ball though (Shyatt will like this) and could see increased playing time late in games where the Pokes are trying to hold on to the lead. Shakir Smith and Riley Grabau two incoming freshman could both earn significant playing time depending on how things shake out this year. Smith out of Tucson, Arizona is a very smooth outside shooter and could add another weapon to the Pokes offense to complement the shooting of both Cruz and Martinez. Grabau who was voted Mr. Colorado Basketball in his final high school season can play both the point and shooting guard spots. The last remaining guard Jack Bentz is a walk-on who could be red-shirted this season and if he isn’t the only real playing time he would be projected to see would be in mop up duty or if the Pokes have a major Injury crisis.

Overall, this is a talented and deep group of guards but only Luster and Cruz have seen significant playing time at the Mountain West, Division I level. That could be a cause for concern for the coaching staff but the initial schedule is soft enough that the new guards should be able to earn and grow into their roles this year. There will be growing pains no doubt but I am excited to see how the point guards will perform in the new system and how Cruz will build on his season last year with some talented newcomers there to assist him.

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Topics: 2011 Wyoming Basketball Preview, Arthur Bouedo, Derrious Gilmore, Francisco Cruz, Guards, Jack Bentz, JayDee Luster, Larry Shyatt, Luke Martinez, Riley Grabau, Shakir Smith, Wyoming Basketball

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