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UW vs Niagara

Wyoming's Jake Hendricks shoots a layup during the Cowboys' game against Niagara on Nov. 16 at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

LARAMIE — Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said earlier this month the Cowboys weren’t going to pursue a medical redshirt for Jake Hendricks.

That may still be the case, though Edwards said he’ll consult with the Cowboys’ junior guard, family members and school compliance one last time before a final decision is made.

Hendricks was Wyoming’s third-leading scorer (11.4 points per game) and top 3-point shooter (42.5 percent) before tearing his LCL against UTEP on Dec. 22. The junior college transfer hasn’t played since but has already played in 12 games with 10 starts.

According to NCAA bylaw 12.8.4, a player may be granted a medical hardship waiver if he or she has not played in more than 30 percent of the team’s games because of an injury that occurred in the first half of the season. With Wyoming scheduled to play 31 games not including the Mountain West tournament, Hendricks has already played 39 percent of the season.

Edwards said it’s been standard in his experience for the NCAA to cap a realistic possibility of a medical redshirt at 10 games for basketball players. The Cowboys are seeking one for sophomore wing Hunter Maldonado, whose back and knee injuries limited him to eight games this season.

“I’m sitting down with him and (assistant athletic director for compliance) Peter (Prigge) in compliance, and we’re going to call his father to talk through some of this stuff,” Edwards said. “Just from a standpoint of if it’s worth the waiver process or if it makes sense.”

Wyoming would be taking a risk by sitting Hendricks the rest of the season and applying for the hardship waiver only for it to possibly be denied. It’s why Edwards plans on getting Hendricks back on the floor at some point this season assuming he’s cleared to play and everybody’s on board with it.

“I can’t say for sure right now,” Edwards said. “I just want to make sure he and his father are OK with the direction that all of us feels like needs to happen at the end of the day. Obviously as a coach, I’m hoping for him to be back. Either way, I think it benefits what we’re trying to do because of the type of player he is. Getting him back presents another guard, which right now we truly only have two in AJ and (Justin James). But if it were a medical redshirt, I would love to have him for two whole years, too.”

Hendricks was fitted for a new knee brace during a doctor’s appointment Monday. He rode a stationary bike and did “some movement stuff” during practice that afternoon, Edwards said, but still isn’t a full participant.

Hunting the glass

Hunter Thompson is averaging 11.9 points as one of two true bigs in Wyoming’s seven-man rotation, but the freshman forward is averaging just 3.7 rebounds.

Thompson, at 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds, hasn’t pulled down more than six boards in a game this season and has grabbed more than four just four times despite averaging nearly 30 minutes. Jordan Naughton is Thompson’s frontcourt mate, but the 6-10, 234-pounder (4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds) has been largely ineffective since returning from his partially torn LCL back in December.

James, who’s three inches shorter and nearly 45 pounds lighter than both, is leading the Cowboys in rebounding at 8.6 per game. Yet Wyoming is last in the Mountain West with a minus-6.9 rebounding margin.

Edwards said it’s how Thompson is going about it that continuing to be developed.

“I think right now in his growing process, he’s not an outside-of-his-area rebounder,” Edwards said. “He’s not chasing things down. He’s more of a in-my-presence type of rebounder. But if you really look at him, he does a great job of when the shot goes up, from a technique standpoint, he tries to go find his man.

“I don’t think he should be a 10, 11, 12 (rebounds per game) guy right now either, but he also shouldn’t be a two or three guy. It does need work.”

Moving on up

James has moved to No. 7 on Wyoming’s all-time scoring list. With seven points against Boise State on Saturday, he now has 1,752 career points.

The 6-7, 190-pound senior passed Charles Bradley on the list with 20 points in the Cowboys’ 59-46 win over San Jose State last week. Bradley scored 1,744 points from 1978-81.

James is 58 points away from passing Reginald Slater for No. 6 on the Cowboys’ all-time scoring list.

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Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter

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