LARAMIE – The impact of Jeff Linder's hiring is reaping immediate benefits.
Xavier DuSell, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard from Arizona and a previous signee with Northern Colorado, has been released from his National Letter of Intent and has verbally committed to the University of Wyoming. DuSell is a three-star prospect in the 2020 class, according to Rivals.com.
Linder, who was named UW's men's basketball coach last week, served as Northern Colorado's head coach the last four seasons. DuSell is the first player to commit to UW since Linder's hiring. He signed with the Bears in November.
"When Coach Linder left, that basically gives me an option (to rescind his NLI) ... I took that option," DuSell told WyoSports. "I really believe in his coaching style and the way he has his players play."
DuSell averaged 14 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game as a junior at Arizona Compass Prep. He also played AAU ball for Team Harden-Arizona at the Adidas Gauntlet.
"I'd say that I'm an exciting player to watch. I love to get up shots and take threes," he said. "(I'm an) all-around good player."
While Laramie is just about 100 miles away from where he initially planned on enrolling, DuSell said he has never been to Wyoming and admitted that rescinding his letter of intent from Northern Colorado was a not "an easy decision." But he ultimately felt like following Linder, who went 80-50 in four seasons leading the Bears, was the right decision for him. Northern Colorado won 20 games or more in each of the last three seasons.
DuSell also mentioned UW's fan base as a major bonus.
"At the end of the day, I had to do what's best for me," DuSell said.
DuSell's commitment is another offseason win for the Cowboys, as All-Mountain West guard Hunter Maldonado announced last week on Twitter that he would stay with the program, despite the coaching change. Maldonado averaged a team best 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and four assists per game in 2019-20.
Linder takes over for Allen Edwards, who was fired after four seasons leading the Cowboys. UW won just 17 games over the last two seasons, though the Cowboys did make a surprise run to the MW Tournament semifinals this year with upsets over Colorado State and Nevada.
DuSell said he doesn't have a timeline on when he plans to sign with the Cowboys, given the uncertainty in the sports world with COVID-19. He did, however, say he is 100% committed.
"I'm not exactly in a rush," he said. "(But) I'm locked in."