Athlete of the Week Archive

Jan. 18, 2008

LARAMIE, Wyo. -



Byron Geis


Can you tell us how you came to play for the Cowboys?
"I decided to go to South Dakota School of Mines to walk on the basketball team, and after a semester decided it wasn't for me and I came here because Wyoming had the engineering program I wanted to pursue a degree in. I was up at Half Acre playing and Tony Schamber (current Director of Operations) came up and asked me if I wanted to try to walk on because they had a spot. I made it through a coaching change, and here I am."

Was it hard keeping in shape when you weren't with a team?
"I just played every day because basketball is something I love. I would probably play four or five days a week, and lifted weights and stuff. It wasn't a big deal to stay in shape."

Did you ever consider running track instead of playing basketball in college?
"Not really, I had a few smaller schools pursue me in track, but I ran track more to stay in shape. I really love playing basketball, so it was an easy choice."

How did you get your start in basketball? What are some of your memories?
"I grew up on a ranch, so I didn't have basketball opportunities early on, but in Jr. High I started to get serious about it. I came to camp at UW in my 8th grade year, and that's when I decided to get really serious about it and put in individual time. After I came to camp, I dedicated myself and became a top player in Gillette."

Who was the Wyoming head coach at that camp?
"It was McClain's first year actually, it was his first camp."

Is there any significance with your number?
"No, because I was a walk on late, they had a few extra jerseys, and I didn't have my name on my jersey, so I took No. 12 and the other walk on was No. 11. Since I stayed on the team, I just kept it this year."

Tell us what you feel your role is on this team.
"I do a little bit of everything, and I always have to be ready. I think I have a pretty big role in the scout team. Also, being a team captain means being a vocal leader sometimes. A lot of times I'm not seen on the court during games, but I think I give some pretty good advice for my teammates. I help the team out whenever I'm needed. If I'm asked to play in the game, I just have to be ready."

What was is like the first time you walked into the Dome of Doom in uniform?
"Pretty cool. The first time you run down that tunnel gives you goose bumps. Especially as a Wyoming kid. Coming to Cowboy games as a kid, it's something that a lot of kids dream of, but not many get the chance to do, so it was pretty amazing."

What is your degree going to be in and how and where are you planning on using it?
"I get my degree in architectural engineering in May and I'm engaged to Bridget Fowler from Buffalo so we're getting married this summer. After that I plan on being in the Buffalo/Gillette area doing some engineering and construction management."

If you could meet any NBA star, who would it be?
"Someone like Larry Bird who came from a smaller place, smaller school and really made a name for himself. He did all the right things and won at the same time."

You said you grew up on a ranch, do you still help with that? Also, what are your hobbies?
"My dad and my uncle still own our family ranch, and I love going back there and working. It's one of my favorite things to do and any chance I get, I'm there. As for hobbies, I do some roping, but also riding motorcycles and snowmobiles. Hunting and anything outdoors. Ranching is definitely a love of mine."

As far as traveling goes, what is your most memorable trip with or without the basketball team?
"Last year, we went to San Diego State and won our first game in conference and that was one of the most memorable trips as far as games go. Brandon Heath set the career record for scoring at SDSU, and there was a good crowd. We went in there and won on a last second shot. And, southern California is always nice."

Is there a restaurant in Gillette that is not here in Laramie that you miss? Or just a restaurant that Laramie should have?
"I wish Laramie had an Outback. Gillette doesn't have it, but Outback is always good."

What is the best concert you've ever attended?
"I'd have to say Nickelback at Sturgis in 2004. It was my first time going to Sturgis and we were really close to the stage. You looked back and it was just full of people. It was really cool."

If Wyoming didn't have basketball and you could go anywhere and play for one program or coach, who or where would it be?
"Coach Krzyzewski at Duke. I think he expects a lot out of his players. He expects them to be intelligent and be good people too, so I think that'd be a good choice."