LARAMIE — Drew LaMont knows where he’ll continue his college basketball career.
Now the real work starts for Wyoming’s newest commitment and his future teammates.
LaMont became the fourth commitment in UW’s 2020 recruiting class when he called first-year coach Jeff Linder on Thursday to give him the news. LaMont’s verbal pledge, which he announced on Twitter that night, came just hours after the Cowboys picked up a commitment from Texas combo guard Marcus Williams.
“(Linder) seemed pretty happy on the phone,” LaMont said. “He said he was happy for me to be a Cowboy, and I just told him that I’m excited to help them win a conference championship.”
LaMont is looking at a shorter timeline to get that done.
LaMont, a stretch forward from Indian River State (Florida) College, guard Drake Jeffries and forward Eoin Nelson are all junior college products. Nelson is the latest to join the Cowboys’ class, giving his verbal pledge Friday.
But like Jeffries, UW will be the third program LaMont has suited up for in college. The Plantation, Florida, native began his career at American University before transferring to Indian River.
Meanwhile, UW is starting over under Linder after parting ways with Allen Edwards after combining to win just 17 games the previous two seasons, which included a last-place finish in the Mountain West standings this past season. But with just two years of eligibility left, LaMont made it clear he’s not interested in a long rebuilding process.
Nor does he believe it will take the Cowboys long to turn things around given some of the roster turnover. Leading scorer Hunter Maldonado and Pine Bluffs native Hunter Thompson have both announced their intentions to return to the program next season, but four players have entered the NCAA transfer portal. At least three of them will be leaving.
“I think (Linder) let some guys go that were not acclimated to the style of play that he uses to win, and I think he’s going to bring in a bunch of guys that are going to get the job done,” LaMont said. “I only have two years here at Wyoming, so I don’t want to waste any of it. I want to win right away.”
LaMont’s primary reason for choosing UW over programs like Appalachian State, Stony Brook, McNeese State and Central Michigan is a nearly universal one among the rest of the Cowboys’ commits: Linder’s shooter-friendly system, particularly from behind the 3-point line.
LaMont said he feels like filling out his 6-foot-8 frame has helped his overall game and athleticism, but he described himself as a stretch forward whose strength is his stroke from beyond the arc. The stats seem to confirm that.
He averaged 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 29 games for Indian River this past season. LaMont shot 44.2 percent from the floor and 40.8 percent from 3-point range. He also sank 82.6 percent of his free throws.
“After meeting Coach Linder, I think his style of play fits my game,” LaMont said. “The way they shoot a lot of 3s, move the ball and space the floor, I think I can help impact the game in a really good league.”
LaMont still hasn’t met his new coach in person. The first time he heard from Linder was after Linder took the job at UW on March 17, which coincided with the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. LaMont said he’s never been to Wyoming, but he’s seen photos and videos of the Arena-Auditorium and the Cowboys’ facilities.
“I thought they were amazing,” LaMont said. “I think they have high-major facilities for sure. I was really impressed.”
The spring signing period begins Wednesday. Once LaMont inks his name on the dotted line, he’ll officially embark on the next chapter of his career — one in which he plans to be part of the solution to UW’s recent on-court woes sooner rather than later.
“It kind of puts a chip on our shoulder,” he said.
Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter.
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