Wyoming's Maldonado making the best of his return to Colorado Springs

Wyoming's Maldonado making the best of his return to Colorado Springs
Posted at 7:21 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 21:21:44-05

LARAMIE, WY - — Former Vista Ridge standout Hunter Maldonado will be back in his hometown this weekend when the Wyoming Cowboys take on Air Force.

And as the saying goes: 'New year, new me'.

But for Maldonado, that has meant a new coach in Jeff Linder, with a new style of play at Wyoming.

"Watching some of his games at Northern Colorado and their style of play, and come in and try to implement that into my game," said Maldonado on the off-season coaching change within the Cowboys men's basketball program. "Those types of things happen, but it is how we respond to them and how we can get off the ground and dust ourselves off and get back at it."

The redshirt junior is now one of the centerpieces for the Wyoming men's basketball team.

Maldonado's coming out party to the Mountain West Conference was a year ago against Air Force, where he scored 19 points in one of two conference wins from last season.

"It was basically my first time to be able to come home and play at home because I was hurt the year before," recalled Maldonado. "So it was pretty special. And then just to come out there and win. Obviously, it was a close game until the end and then we started hitting some big shots and playing some D."

The Colorado Springs native admits, while he is disappointed that his friends and family won't be able to attend any games this weekend, in reality, the Cowboys are in need of a pair of wins to jump-start their conference slate.

"It would just be a step in the right direction," explained Maldonado. "Obviously, from the last couple of games, if we can improve on the things we haven't been doing well and come out with wins on the road at a tough Air Force team - it will be a step in the right direction and help us continue to grow."

The Falcons & the Cowboys open their series on Saturday at Clune Arena, with a tip-time set for 2 p.m.