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UW loses standout freshmen Manyawu, Combs to portal

Apr. 4—LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming men's basketball team lost its best freshmen talent to the transfer portal Thursday afternoon.

Forward Cam Manyawu and guard Kael Combs both entered the portal, according to Cody Tucker of 7220sports.com. The pair of freshmen joined guards Brendan Wenzel and Jacob Theodosiou and forwards Jonas Sirtautas and Caden Powell in the portal, bringing the Cowboys' total number of outgoing transfers to six.

UW lost eight players to the transfer portal a year ago.

Cowboys head coach Jeff Linder will also be looking for another assistant coach this season. Bryston Williams — who spent one season on Linder's staff in Laramie and recruited Manyawu and Combs — listed himself as an assistant coach at Drake University on his X profile (formerly Twitter).

Manyawu averaged 7.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in 22.7 minutes during his first college season this winter. The 6-foot-9 forward earned Mountain West freshman of the week honors once and garnered votes for the MW sixth man of the year in the league's media poll.

Combs tallied 2.7 points in just 10.4 minutes per game, but he saw an uptick in playing time at the tail-end of the season.

"Future's bright with those guys," Linder said about Manyawu and Combs after a road loss to Colorado State last month. "... As you move forward, hopefully you can keep those guys as long as you can to where you reap the benefits of having to go through the growing pains of them playing as freshmen. That's going to be the challenge moving forward."

Name, image and likeness dollars have been a big talking point for Linder over the past two seasons. Allowing college athletes to profit from NIL has changed the entire landscape of recruiting in all sports, specifically with the transfer portal having hardly any limitations in its current state.

"In order to keep guys, you have to have some money, because if not, you're not going to be able to retain guys," Linder said last month. "... Hopefully, we can find a way to be able to retain the better players that we have.

"The reality of it is, it's not changing anytime soon. If you're a good player in this league, it's going to cost you to keep him."

The portal remains open until May 1.

Alex Taylor is the assistant editor for WyoSports and covers University of Wyoming athletics. He can be reached at ataylor@wyosports.net. Follow him on X at @alex_m_taylor22.