Wyoming’s Jeff Linder Releases Statement About Recent Exodus
LARAMIE -- It has been 17 days since Jeff Linder has spoken to the media or made any public statement.
In that timeframe, five players -- Graham Ike, Xavier DuSell, Jeremiah Oden, Nate Barnhart and Noah Reynolds -- have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal and former assistant Sundance Wicks was named the new head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
The Cowboys were also bounced from the Mountain West Tournament in the quarterfinals, putting an end to the careers of Hunter Maldonado and Hunter Thompson.
Wyoming's third-year head coach was not in Las Vegas with his team, instead tending to his ailing father back home in the Denver area. Bruce Linder died in the early hours of March 8, less than 24 hours after that 87-76 loss to the Lobos.
With the recent departures, including last summer's PAC-12 offseason acquisitions -- Jake Kyman, Max Agbonkpolo and Ethan Anderson -- who left the program in early February, the Cowboys now have just three scholarship players remaining on the roster: Brendan Wenzel, Caden Powell and Kenny Foster.
Wyoming also lost its lone recruit from the 2023-24 class, Makaiah Williams, who in February asked to be released from his National Letter of Intent.
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In a prepared statement released by the university Tuesday, just minutes before Ike's decision to enter the portal became public, Linder said, "Tough times don’t last, but tough people do."
“I took over this program the week COVID shut down the country in March 2020 with four returning players and two years later we were dancing our way to the NCAA Tournament," Linder said. "New challenges (Transfer Portal & NIL) have presented themselves in the last 12 months that have changed the landscape of college basketball. The new landscape isn’t changing anytime soon and we must embrace change. As we embrace change, I hope that the State of Wyoming and the passionate fans who wear the Brown and Gold will embrace the young men who will stay and 'Ride for the Brand.'
"There will be a lot of new faces next season across college basketball and there will be a lot of new faces playing for the Cowboys in the Arena Auditorium. The returning players and the new faces will play with a passion and pride that will make you proud. My players know that one of the four things that they are held accountable to everyday is what their response is. As a head coach I have never experienced a season like this. I have learned a great deal over the last 12 months and will be better for it. My response will embrace the changes that have impacted the program without sacrificing the standards that have allowed my teams to be successful and what will make us successful as we move forward. As we move forward as a program, I want to wish all the best to the players who have chosen to transfer and are grateful for the time they spent here.”
Wyoming finished the season 9-22 overall.
Stay tuned to 7220sports.com for all the latest updates from the Wyoming basketball program.
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