LARAMIE, Wyo. — Alan Herndon is looking a little more muscular these days, and he doesn’t mind if you point it out to him.
“I was able to put on a little bit,” the Wyoming senior said Wednesday at the Cowboys’ preseason media day. “Every time people notice it, I get a little smile. Like, ‘You know what? It’s working out.’ But just in the weight room I tried to make sure I was with a guy who was pushing more weight, doing more, getting more with the big men, just making sure I was pushing myself.
“It worked out in the end. It’s getting a little bit more noticeable. Just eating healthier and all that is really my focus in the offseason.”
Herndon said he has added about 10 pounds, getting up to 230 at one point, though he is now back to 225. He has noticed it paying dividends on the court.
“Going in there against guys, even in practice, just being able to have a more physical presence, it definitely does make a difference,” he said. “Even though I was fighting against it for so long, it seems like, but I do understand that weight, it does play a factor, especially in the role that I’m playing as a 4 or a 5 or a big man. It does help you go in there and get more rebounds and get more physical.”
Senior guard Alexander Aka Gorski, on the other hand, went the opposite direction.
“With all the injuries and stuff last year I kind of gained some weight toward the end of the season,” he told the Casper Star-Tribune . “So my primary focus this offseason was just to get in really good shape. I lost about 15, 20 pounds, and I feel way better, and I feel like I’m in really good shape right now.
“I feel in way better shape, pretty much in every aspect of the game, defense, rebounding, every part of it. I get off the ground more when I shoot it. Yeah, I feel great.”
In general, though, Wyoming was a team with plenty of lank last season, and some of that has changed in the offseason.
“The team gained a lot of weight,” junior Justin James said. “I myself gained 11 pounds, so I’m pretty happy with that. I’m trying to contain this for the season We do a lot of running, so we can lose weight.”
While the Cowboys have a little more meat on their bones, second-year head coach Allen Edwards said the mental component is just as important.
“I never like to use the word ‘physical,'” he said. “I’m more about scrappy, multiple efforts, hustle. When we’re sitting there saying ‘physical’ — am I expecting our big guys to sit up there and bang all day with the two big kids from Cal? No. Be scrappy. But be willing to be able to battle with those guys.
“I thought last year sometimes, there wasn’t a will to, and I think this year, this past summer and preseason, I thought (director of player development and strength and conditioning Rob Watsabaugh) has done a great job. Guys have put on some weight. But more important, I think the mentality has changed in that aspect.”
Not all the Cowboys were physically fit, though.
Hunter Thompson’s right foot is in a boot with an ankle injury related to a stress fracture. Edwards said there’s a chance it could be broken.
Fellow freshman Anthony Mack is also sidelined, as he has suffered a concussion. Both players have been out about 10 days with injuries, Edwards said.
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com