September 13, 2012

Cowboy basketball team hosts big visit weekend

Recruiting - at least in terms of pure numbers of players coming into the program - will be feast or famine for the Wyoming basketball program in the next three years.

Wyoming will have one and maybe two open scholarships left for the recruiting class of 2013 and just one for a very deep 2014 recruiting class. In 2015 things get interesting as Wyoming could have as many as six scholarships available, which has the Cowboy coaches on the road looking at high school sophomores.

First thing's first - getting the recruiting classes of 2013 and 2014 finalized means getting student-athletes to Laramie to see the place for themselves. This weekend the Cowboys will host recruits for both official and unofficial visits, including current 2013 commitment, Alan Herndon.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Widefield High in Colorado Springs committed to Wyoming in July. Last season he averaged 9.9 points, 7.4 rebounds an 2.3 blocked shots for Widefield. Herndon said this weekend he will get a more in-depth view of Wyoming than he has seen previously. The son of former Wyoming women's basketball player Chanel Lewis, said he will get to sit in on a class.

"I am just looking forward to seeing the campus more than I have before and getting more familiar with it," Herndon said. "And that will be good because I am going to be there the next four years."

Herndon said as the only committed player coming to visit his role will also be to check in with the others making their visits and hopefully get them thinking more about becoming a Cowboy. He said Wyoming is the only school that has continued to recruit him since his commitment in July.

Keonta Vernon is a 6-foot-6 power forward from the Fresno area and said he will also be in Laramie this weekend. He said he is looking for a family atmosphere from the Wyoming basketball team and is hoping to dispel the rumor that Laramie is colder than he would prefer.

Vernon holds offers from Wyoming, Northern Arizona, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Seattle and Fresno State among others. After spending last weekend in Flagstaff, he is taking the second of four official visits with trips to Santa Clara, Seattle and Santa Barbara yet to come.

Last season he posted season averages of 19 points and 14 rebounds to go along with 4.6 blocks per contest. Vernon, who played center for his high school team last year and both forward positions this summer, said he is looking for a bond with the players and coaches to go along with a fast-paced offense.

"The main thing for me is I am looking for a coaching staff and players that can make a family atmosphere," Vernon said. "Family is the most important thing in my life and if I go somewhere I want it to feel like my family. On the court, I like high-tempo offense and straight man-to-man defense."

Vernon said he is set to announce his college choice on Oct. 14 - his birthday.

Denver East Junior Ronnie Harrell will be in town this weekend. The 6-foot-6 swingman from the Class of 2014 is known as a pure shooter and has been to Laramie previously attending a team camp this summer. Harrell holds a Wyoming offer and said he enjoyed his time in Wyoming.

"I liked it," Harrell said. "It seems like a very small and cohesive city and campus. It seems like the entire state is behind the teams and supporting them."

Harrell was a sub for Coach Rudy Carey's East Angels last season, but has grown four inches in the off-season and a strong summer has him on the radar of several schools including Colorado, Northern Colorado and Arizona State. With a grandfather who grew to 7-foot-2, it is unclear on how far the growth spurt in both height and development of his game will go.

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