LARAMIE — You might have noticed the Wyoming men’s basketball team looks a little bit different this year. Gone is Torrington graduate Jason McManamen, the program’s all-time leading 3-point maker. True freshman Hunter Maldonado has seen significant playing time, and redshirt freshman Austin Mueller has gotten on the court as well.
And then there are the transfer players, who had to sit last season because of NCAA eligibility rules: Nyaires Redding, a point guard from Washington State, and Buddha Jones, a forward from UTEP.
There’s more that looks different, though, than just the fact that Redding and Jones are now playing. They’re also both wearing short shorts.
“Yeah, he took that from me,” Jones said of Redding. “I started that.”
Redding denies the charge.
“No, I did not steal them from Buddha,” he said. “He was probably the first to wear them on our team, though, but I did not get that from Mr. Buddha.”
The shorts aren’t actually short. They’re the same length as the shorts worn by other players on the Wyoming, but Redding and Jones roll them up at the waist.
Jones said his are rolled up two or three times. Redding goes with two or three.
“Definitely in college, a lot of players around the country are starting to have shorter shorts and stuff like that,” Redding said. “It’s all a preference.”
For example, Colorado State’s Prentiss Nixon rolls his shorts especially high.
“It’s kind of the trend,” Wyoming junior Justin James said. “I feel like Nike’s going to start making shorter shorts, just because of that.”
Jones has been rolling up his shorts since high school, he said. He wears them shorter for aesthetic reasons.
“I’ve got skinny legs, so my shorts can’t go past my knees,” said Jones, who tends to wear longer tights underneath his shorts. “It’s just got to be high.”
Redding has gone back to the look, though he insists it’s not because he’s copying Jones.
“I would say the culture in college basketball is changing,” he said. “But even kind of towards the end of high school I would start to do it and stuff like that. And my early years of college, I went back to the regular way, but now I like them shorter.”
Redding’s reasons have more to do with comfort.
“It’s not really a fashion thing,” he said. “I just like the way it feels and stuff like that.”
If shorter shorts were available to the players, Jones and Redding said they would likely wear those.
“I probably would,” Redding said, “but I like the rolls, too.”
Redding has slipped into Wyoming’s role of starting point guard, averaging 4.9 points in 17.8 minutes per game. He left Wyoming’s double-overtime win over Drake with an undisclosed injury. Defensively, however, Redding is happy with how he has started thus far.
Jones has averaged just 1.5 points in 6.7 minutes per game, but he has seen increased playing time in recent games. Head coach Allen Edwards hopes to utilize Jones as a scorer as he becomes more comfortable on the court.
In terms of their look, however, the two transfers are leading the charge — not that James has any plans on adopting the trend.
“It’s kind of the old ‘80s, ‘90s thing,” he said. “That’s his style, so whatever he wants to wear, he can wear. ... I do roll mine once, but they’re like three or four times. I’m cool with my length.”