Aug 10, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorUniversity of Wyoming head basketball coach Larry Shyatt is reaching out to fans across the state.
The first step for Shyatt in his second season at the helm of UW's basketball program was to plan a game for the Cowboys in Ethete.
Wyoming opens the season in Ethete on Wednesday, Oct. 31, against Fort Lewis College.
"We wanted to pick a group and a place in the state where we can join ranks and be a partner in terms of doing something positive for the youth," said Shyatt in an interview last week.
"Our interest here was one of our seniors," he said, referring to Luke Martinez who is an American Indian.
Martinez played a vital role for the Cowboys last year in his junior season.
"Luke has done everything that we have asked of him for the past 14 months," Shyatt said. "We got Luke from the staff previous to us that did a great job of recruiting him. Luke worked hard on and off the court. He is on target to graduate next spring. We are very proud of who he is both on and off the court."
The reaction from Wyoming Indian school staff has been tremendous.
"Nothing like that has ever happened around here," Wyoming Indian boys basketball coach Craig Ferris said. "Everybody likes new things, and I think that it's going to be a big game."
Ferris was surprised when the announcement on the game came a couple of weeks ago.
"We talked about the game, and we just never thought that it was going to happen," Ferris said. "Now that it's going to happen, I think that it's going to be huge and that we can do it again."
Ferris is expecting the WIHS gym to be filled for the exhibition game.
"We are going to have a lot people there," Ferris said. "There are going to be people there from Riverton, Lander and all around the county."
Tickets for the game will go on sale Oct. 1. People can get the tickets through the UW ticket office. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
"We are sure hoping for a great welcome," Shyatt said. "I think that the game itself s less significant than what it stands for. It does stand for the right things. We are trying to reach out and see our fan base as well as some groups that we can help benefit from this down the road in the state of Wyoming."
Shyatt picked Fort Lewis because of its head coach, Bob Hofman.
"The coach of Fort Lewis is a lifelong friend of mine," Shyatt said. "He just suffered a little bit of a medical condition. I wanted to have an opportunity to see him and play an exhibition game with him. It worked out just perfect that they can put this together with us on the road."
"We had six seniors and six freshmen last year," Shyatt said. "We also have one of the most unique dynamics in that we lost six seniors."
The Cowboys are playing in Canada on a tour to prepare for the season.
"We have seven new players in the summer," Shyatt said. "It has been big for us to spend some quality time with them. All of them have been on campus for nine weeks in school doing a good job in the classroom. The 10 practices have been a blessing because they found out what October is going to be like."
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