One of Wyoming men’s basketball’s top contributors is all the way back.
The 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing still finished as the Cowboys’ second-leading scorer (13.8 points per game) and rebounder (6.8) despite the limited action. Playing in just eight games meant Maldonado could still use his redshirt and save a year of eligibility, which will make him a third-year sophomore next season.
With seniors Justin James, Jordan Naughton and Ny Redding gone, Maldonado is in line to rejoin the starting lineup next season as the most experienced player on the roster as Wyoming tries to move on from its eight-win season. He played in 29 games as a true freshman and has 24 career starts.
Edwards said Maldonado has also spent part of his summer scrimmaging against the USA Basketball under-19 World Cup team during its training camp in his native Colorado.
“He looks really good,” Edwards said.
The offseason has also allowed more time for other players to heal. Edwards said forward Austin Mueller and guard A.J. Banks are both working their way back to full strength. Mueller missed all but eight games last season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament while Banks has been dealing with a minor knee injury.
Bradley Belt, who took an academic redshirt last season, is still out with a hand injury, Edwards said, but the freshman guard is no longer wearing a cast.
Edwards said all five of Wyoming’s 2019 signees have arrived on campus and are taking part in summer workouts.
Four of them — freshmen Kenny Foster and Kwane Marble Jr. as well as junior college transfers Greg Milton III and Tyler Morman — accompanied Edwards during his appearance at Wyoming athletics’ pep rally in Casper last week. Fellow incoming freshman Javier Turner, a 6-11, 230-pound big, could join Morman in providing immediate help in the frontcourt next season.
Wyoming began team workouts last week, but Edwards said he already likes the physical maturation of his newcomers.
“The guys came in with some good bodies,” Edwards said. “(Director of player development) Rob (Watsabaugh) is doing a good job with them.”
Half and half
The NCAA allows basketball players eight hours a week for summer workouts. As many as four of those hours may be used for skill-related instruction while the rest must be devoted to strength and conditioning.
Edwards said he’s splitting it all down the middle.
“I take four (for instruction), and weights take four,” Edwards said. “Then I split up my workouts to where we’ll go one full practice and then we’ll go two individual instructions.”
Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter