Cowboys land two more juco big men

Updated: October 27, 2003, 11:07 PM ET

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Wyoming is loading up on big men this recruiting season.

This week, two more junior college players verbally committed to sign national letters of intent with UW: 6-foot-9, 235-pound Derek Wabbington from Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo., and 6-foot-8, 215-pound Chris Anderson of the College of Eastern Utah.

Earlier this month, UW received a verbal commitment from Justin Williams, a 6-foot-10, 215-pounder from Colby (Kan.) Community College.

The Cowboys beat out Auburn and DePaul for his services.

Williams averaged 11.2 points and 10.2 rebounds last season at Colby. He prepped at Thornwood High School in South Holland, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

Wabbington and Williams will have two seasons of eligibility for the Cowboys, while Anderson will have three after redshirting last season.

Wabbington could make an immediate impact in Division I because he can play inside and outside, Northeastern coach Brian Joyce said.

"(Being left-handed) creates great matchup problems because he's very skilled," Joyce said. "He can shoot out to the 3-point line. He can handle the ball. He's just very skilled for that size."

UW head coach Steve McClain is prohibited from commenting publicly on recruits until they are signed. NCAA early signing day is Nov. 11.

Joyce said McClain and his staff recruited Wabbington out of high school and then went after him hard when he enrolled at Sterling.

Wabbington graduated from Washington High School in Phoenix, Ariz. He averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds as a college freshman.

Other schools expressing interest were Gonzaga, Arizona State, Indiana State, Nebraska, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Utah State, New Mexico State, West Virginia, UNLV and Creighton.

Fans in Wyoming will be able to see Williams and Wabbington in action this coming season.

Colby will compete in the Thunderbird Thanksgiving Classic at Casper College Nov. 27-29. Northeastern will visit Casper Jan. 10.

Anderson, from Layton, Utah, didn't begin playing basketball until his sophomore year in high school.

"He's springy, athletic," Eastern Utah head coach Bryan Zollinger said. "I think he has a chance to be really good."

A redshirt season consisting of schooling, weightlifting, practicing and offseason game situations turned Anderson into a legitimate Division I prospect, he said.

"All of a sudden he's blocking shots and he's doing some things that (the UW coaches) didn't see him do a year ago," Zollinger said.

Anderson visited Wyoming and Texas Southern.

Former Cowboy basketball and football player Scottie Vines, who is now with the Green Bay Packers, also played at Eastern Utah.

McClain is expected to have one or two more scholarships available for the 2003-04 recruiting campaign.

Walk-on Jerry Webb, a former Sheridan College standout, could earn a scholarship. Meanwhile, the status of senior swingman David Rottinghaus is up in the air. He might be forced to redshirt because of a stress fracture below his left kneecap.

If Rottinghaus plays, UW will lose six seniors after this season.

Next year's class will also include guard Steve Leven, a transfer from Auburn.

Leven was selected to two All-Australia teams as a youth, playing prep basketball in the United States at Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina.

He attended the Nike All-American Camp as a senior and was ranked among the top 75 high school players in the nation by recruiting services like HoopScoop and PrepStar.

Leven, considered Auburn's top recruit last season, never played a game before being suspended for violating team rules and then dismissed in December by Tigers coach Cliff Ellis.

He enrolled at Texas for an offseason semester before coming to Wyoming, where he can practice but can't play for one year because of NCAA transfer rules.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index