LARAMIE – Deng Dut is well-versed in what he’s walking into. Quite frankly, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dut, a sophomore transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, is expected to be the University of Wyoming’s lead guard this season following the departure of Mountain West freshman of the year Marcus Williams.

Following a historic rookie campaign, Williams transferred to Texas A&M, leaving a massive void in the ball-handling department for the Cowboys. Enter Dut, who was named a junior-college All-American in 2020 after averaging 14.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.

Dut knows a lot will be asked of him come late fall. But he’s more than ready to embrace the challenge.

“(UW coach Jeff Linder and I) spoke about it during recruiting. He told me what he expects of his guards, and showed me things, places he puts his guards,” Dut said. “I’m definitely up for the challenge. It’s going to be fun.”

Dut, a 6-foot-4 guard originally from Australia, played two seasons at CSI and was the Region 18 Player of the Year in 2020. He shot a scorching 48% from behind the 3-point line and 51% overall for the season.

Dut originally signed with the University of Portland, but was released from his commitment following a coaching change. After his successful 2020-21 junior-college season, Dut had his fair share of suitors and, for the first time in his career, he was going through a competitive recruiting process.

“I didn’t want to make the process such a long process. I wanted to make the right decision in the right amount of time,” Dut said. “(But) it was definitely weird. It was my first time actually getting recruited by a whole bunch of schools.”

While he was recruited by big-name programs such as the University of Georgia and St. John’s, Dut ultimately felt Laramie was the perfect fit for him, due in no small part to Linder.

“My decision to come here is pretty straightforward. Everything was just the right fit for me in terms of style of play, coaches. Their coaching staff and style of play suits my game,” Dut said. “This was the best opportunity for me to get better.”

While it might be a tough transition for a high school player going directly to a Division I program, Dut says his move to the Mountain West has been fairly seamless, as he is used to playing against high-level talent from his time at CSI. Not much is catching him off guard.

Dut also speaks highly of new teammate Hunter Maldonado, UW’s captain and the glue that keeps the Cowboys together. The redshirt junior has already proven to be a helpful presence on the court.

“He’s probably one of the easiest guys I’ve gelled with on the court. He’s such a professional when it comes to practice,” Dut said. “He’s always going to help you get better.”

Michael Katz covers the University of Wyoming for WyoSports. He can be reached at mkatz@wyosports.net or 307-755-3325. Follow him on Twitter at @michaellkatz.

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