Hunter Maldonado, Wyoming’s all time leader in assists, announced Friday afternoon on Twitter that he would return to the university for his final season of eligibility.
The announcement comes after months of speculation about whether or not the 6′ 7″ guard from Colorado Springs would return for his last year of eligibility, or if he would make the jump to the professional ranks.
Maldonado now becomes the second poke to announce their return for a sixth season after senior Hunter Thompson announced in March his plans to return to the team. The two would steer a team that should be at the top of many preseason Mountain West rankings.
In his time in Laramie Maldonado has seen the program evolve from the coach Allen Edwards era, where the team won just 40% of its games, to a potential conference powerhouse under Jeff Linder, who has turned the Cowboys into an efficient scoring machine.
Maldonado will return to the court next season to reunite with junior forward Graham Ike, the dominant duo decimated opposing defenses a season ago when the two accounted for nearly 40 points a game, they look forward to picking back up where they left off, only this time they won’t be alone.
New additions to the Wyoming roster include a few southern California transplants that found their way to the Cowboy state via the transfer portal.
Maldonado, who has never been much of a shooter in his time at Wyoming, was forced out of his comfort zone when he had to put up riskier shots late into last season as defenders began attacking Ike in the post. With the addition of the new PAC-12 guards, this should take the pressure off of him to feel the need to shoot, and allow him to be a better game manager.
As Wyoming begins to solidify their roster, fans eagerly wait for the much anticipated 2022-2023 season to kick off and watch the pokes hopefully return to the NCAA tournament as they did a year ago. Having a leader such as Maldonado will help immensely in that endeavor.