Leonard Washington reinstated

Updated: September 11, 2012, 8:44 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Wyoming has a legitimate chance to be competitive in a loaded Mountain West Conference with Tuesday's decision to reinstate senior forward Leonard Washington.

Washington was suspended in April for violating team rules after averaging 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in 32 starts last season. He immediately becomes one of the top returning players in the Mountain West, a league that could have five of its nine members make the NCAA tournament in UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico, Colorado State and new member Nevada.

"Leonard has met our criteria for earning his way back onto this team and has done everything Athletics Director Tom Burman and I have asked of him," coach Larry Shyatt said in a statement released by the school. "We are pleased that he will have the opportunity to earn his degree this spring and look forward to him continuing to help this team."

The Cowboys didn't have Washington for a trip to Canada in August, leaning on senior guard Luke Martinez for a 3-0 record on the trip. The Cowboys also got productive play from senior guard Derrious Gilmore.

Having a trio of seniors in Washington, Martinez and Gilmore should mean the Cowboys will be a tough opponent for the aforementioned five possible NCAA teams, let alone Boise State, Air Force and newcomer Fresno State.

Wyoming finished 21-12, 6-8 in the MWC (CBI appearance) in Shyatt's first season back in Laramie.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com