- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - As the Wyoming men’s and women’s basketball teams prepare to begin practice for the new season, both squads will have rosters dominated by young, inexperienced players.

Eight players will begin their first season with the Cowboys when practice starts on Friday.

Among the players gone from last year’s team that won the Mountain West Conference tournament and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament is Larry Nance Jr., who was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Guard Josh Adams is the only senior on coach Larry Shyatt’s team.

The Cowgirls have to find replacements for three key players, including all-conference forward Kayla Woodward. The roster consists of mostly underclassmen, including six freshmen.

Guards Marquelle Dent and Jordan Kelley are the only seniors.

During media day on Wednesday, veteran players for both teams spoke of the need to make sure they teach the younger players what’s expected of them every day.

“It’s given us a different drive now that we’ve seen what it takes,” redshirt sophomore guard Trey Washington III said. “We know we can get there . the young guys, they want to experience it as well.

“I think the question is, ‘Can we improve and play at the level we played at last year?’”

Junior guard Jason McManamen said he is telling the younger players how to win and how to “be a piece of the puzzle.”

Shyatt said he looks at having a team with six freshmen and six sophomores as exciting.

“There is something to be said as a positive of being youthful, because they don’t know what they don’t know and a lot of that is positive,” he said.

Cowgirls coach Joe Legerski said a Dent and Kelley will be called on to lead the team that he describes as his most inexperienced yet.

“For both those (seniors), a great deal of the burden is going to fall on them early,” Legerski said.

Dent said she believes the Cowgirls are “going to shock a lot of people” this season.

“…I think the people who are coming in and the returners are going to step up,” she said.

The Cowboys host Fort Lewis in an exhibition game Nov. 7. Their first regular-season game is against Bristol University out of California at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in Laramie.

The Cowgirls open this season with an exhibition against visiting Adams State at 7 p.m. Nov. 5. The regular season opens with a pair of home games against Chadron State (Nov. 15) and St. Mary’s (Nov. 20).

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