With three of the top four scorers and its top four rebounders departed from last year's
squad, the Western Wyoming men's basketball team will look to a returning group of five as
well as nine newcomers to provide the scoring and rebounding punch necessary to continue
moving toward the top of the conference in Ryan Orton's fourth season as coach. After a sixth
place finish in his first year, the program had a five game improvement and finished in a tie
for fourth in 2013-14 in addition to a 14-17 overall record. 2014-15 marked the first winning
season in Orton's tenure as the Mustangs finished the year at 22-10 overall.
Not all is lost as returning wing Jarred Laws (Anchorage, AK/East HS), who started all 32
games last year, was the team's second leading scorer at 12.5 points per game. In addition,
Felipe Meirelles (Santo Andre, Brazil), Tyler Wells (Fairbanks, AK/Monroe Catholic HS) and
Brandon Davies (West Valley City, UT/Hunter HS) all had averages of 7.1 points per game, 5.6
points per game and 5.3 points per game respectively in 2014-15 and will be looked upon to
shoulder a great deal of the scoring load for Western.
In the backcourt, newcomers to the program include transfer Eric Duncan (Stockton, CA/Lassen
CC) who had a very solid freshman campaign for the Lassen Cougars. He averaged 11.0 points per
game and helped them to a 22-8 overall record. In addition, the Mustangs have added London,
England product Tyrell Isaacs. Isaacs comes to Western after a successful year for the Barking
Abbey School in London.
On the wing, several new faces will appear for the Mustangs. Porter Wallentine (Bear Lake,
ID/Bear Lake HS) begins his college career after serving an LDS Mission in Honduras for the
past two years. Wallentine is a versatile scorer and will add maturity to this year's group.
Callum Lawson (Coventry, England) brings a high level of athleticism with his ability to run
the floor, rebound the basketball and his activity on both ends of the floor. Jalil Walker
(Reno, NV/Planet Athlete Academy), like Lawson, brings a high level of athleticism to the
perimeter. Walker has the ability to play in the open court, get to the basket and defend a
variety of positons. DJ Lacey (Layton, UT/Dawson CC) is a transfer to the Mustangs after
redshirting at Dawson Community College last year. Lacey can shoot the basketball and has a
very good feel for the game.
Newcomers on the frontline include Earl Russell (Warrington, England). Russell is arguably the
most athletic front line player the Mustangs have had in Orton's tenure. He can really rebound
and runs the floor well. Nicho Burgard (Wadgassen, Germany/University of Alaska Anchorage)
possesses a very good offensive skill set and can play both inside and outside. Tugay Balyan
(Ankara, Turkey/Mt. Zion Prep) has the ability to play both on the perimeter as well as
inside. He has a very good shooting touch from the three point line.
The schedule includes 13 home contests including the first three games at home to start the
season. Non-conference road games include at Colorado Northwestern, USU-Eastern and Laramie
County. In addition the Mustangs will play invitational tournaments in Powell, Wyoming, as
well as Twin Falls, Idaho. The annual Mustang Invitational Tournament will be held during the
Thanksgiving weekend and conference play will start in January.