Dec. 16, 2004
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Four All-Americans, the leaders in career scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking, one of the most popular players ever to come out of the state, and the Cowboy who invented the jump shot, are among ten UW lettermen voted by fans to Wyoming's All-Century basketball team.
The team, which is part of the celebration commemorating 100 years of Wyoming basketball, was announced Thursday by UW Athletics Director Gary Barta.
"Wherever I've been, I've always been extremely appreciative of the institution's history and tradition," said Barta. "We are grateful to all of those who have gone before us, competed and laid the ground work for what is Cowboy basketball today.
"I think the fans did a terrific job of identifying and voting for the best of the best, and we thank them for participating.
"This All-Century Team is an outstanding one, and we look forward to having these great Cowboys come back for our reunion weekend."
Cowboy fans were able to vote online and at the Arena-Auditorium during the Texas-Arlington game, on November 27. Over 1,800 ballots were received. The All-Century Team will be recognized at halftime of the Utah-Wyoming game on Saturday, January 15. That weekend will also include a reunion of all Cowboy basketball lettermen and coaches.
Fans were asked to nominate their favorites during a two-week period in early November. The ballot for the team was comprised of the top 30 nominees. Two weeks of voting followed the nomination period.
The team spans Cowboy tradition from 1941 (Kenny Sailors) through the 2003 season (Marcus Bailey).
Here is the team: Marcus Bailey (2000-03), Charles Bradley (1978-81), Fennis Dembo (1985-88), Bill Garnett (1979-82), Eric Leckner (1985-88), Theo Ratliff (1992-95), Flynn Robinson (1963-65), Kenneth Sailors (1941-43, `46), Reginald Slater (1989-92), and Tony Windis (1957-59).
Marcus Bailey (Cheyenne, Wyo., 2000-03)
Bailey scored in double figures in 72 of 101 career games. He led the Cowboys to two consecutive MWC regular season titles, and to the Second Round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament, defeating then No. 6 ranked Gonzaga by a score of 73-66 in the First Round. Ranked No. 14 in UW history in scoring (1,356 points), the most points ever scored by a native of the state of Wyoming in school history. He also ranks tenth in career assists (229), sixth in career steals (113) and fourth in games started (95). Bailey was selected a Preseason All-American by the John R. Wooden Award committee prior to the start of the 2002-03 season. Bailey's career ended prematurely midway through his senior year, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee against South Carolina. He was selected First Team All-MWC by conference coaches for both the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.
Charles Bradley (Edgewood, Md., 1978-81)
Bradley ranked as one of the best players in Western Athletic Conference history at the end of his career. He guided the Cowboys to the 1981 WAC title, a 24-6 record, and into the NCAA tournament, a first for Wyoming in over 15 years. A three-time first team All-WAC selection and an Academic All-American, Bradley finished his career as the second leading scorer in Cowboy history with 1,744 points and ranked second in assists with 215. Bradley was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Boston Celtics and played several seasons of professional basketball. He won the 1981 Admiral Land Award as UW's top student-athlete. He returned to his alma mater in 1986 as an assistant coach and helped Wyoming win a WAC championship and advance to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA tournament in 1987. Inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, October 18, 1996.
Fennis Dembo (San Antonio, Texas, 1985-88)
A three-time All-Western Athletic conference basketball player. Dembo was selected the 1987 WAC Player of the Year. He finished his career as Wyoming's all-time scoring leader, 2,311 points, and rebounding leader, 954. He owned school records for career free throws and field goals and ranked in the top three of every career statistical category. Dembo led UW to the Finals of the 1986 NIT Championship and the "Sweet 16" of the 1987 NCAA Championships. He was the leading scorer in the 1987 NCAA Championship tournament averaging 27.8 points per game. He was the first Wyoming athlete ever featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Dembo was a member of the 1989 World Champion Detroit Pistons. Inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, October 29, 1993.
Bill Garnett (Denver, Colo., 1979-82)
A four-year starter during his career at Wyoming. Garnett was a rugged competitor with great ability, and a major force in the Western Athletic Conference. He helped carry the Cowboys to two NCAA tournament appearances. In the 1981-82 season, he was instrumental in helping the Pokes win the WAC title and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. As a senior he was a team captain, selected as the WAC Player of the Year and earned All-American honors. He was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1982 NBA draft as the fourth overall pick, the highest of any University of Wyoming player ever. He was one of the most consistent players on the team and is still listed in the top ten of eight career statistical categories. He is among the top five in blocked shots (97) and rebounds (840). Inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, September 28, 2001.
Eric Leckner (Manhattan Beach, Calif., 1985-88)
A four-year starter at center for the Cowboys, Eric played on some of the most memorable Wyoming basketball teams in recent history. Leckner played a huge role on the Cowboys' NIT runner-up team in 1986, as well as the 1987 and 1988 NCAA Tournament teams. A two-time, first-team all-WAC selection his junior and senior years, Eric led his teams to WAC Tournament titles in 1987 and 1988, the WAC regular season title in 1986, as well as the WAC Tournament runner-up position that year. He still holds the distinction of being the only three-time MVP of the WAC Tournament. Leckner still ranks third on the all-time UW scoring list behind Dembo and Robinson, second in blocked shots behind Ratliff and eighth on the all-time rebounding list. Following his career at Wyoming, Eric was drafted and played in the NBA through 1997, spending time with Sacramento, Charlotte, New York and Detroit. Inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, September 25, 1998.
Theo Ratliff (Demopolis, Ala., 1992-95)
Wyoming's all-time leading shot blocker with 425 blocks (a career average of 3.8 blocks per game). Ratliff holds nearly all Wyoming's blocked shot records. An All-WAC first team selection two years in a row, he also finished his UW career among the top 15 in both scoring and rebounding. A two-time winner of the Gene Benson Agency MVP Award. Ratliff twice had 11 blocked shots in a game, and led Wyoming in scoring and rebounding in two consecutive WAC Tournaments (1994-95). He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the 1995 NBA draft with the 18th pick in the first round (the first WAC player selected that year). Theo has played for the NBA's Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks (where he led the NBA in blocked shots in 2002-2003), and currently for the Portland Trailblazers.
Flynn Robinson (Elgin, Ill., 1963-65)
In three seasons as a Cowboy, Flynn Robinson broke every major Wyoming basketball record except rebounding. His 701 points scored during the 1964-65 season and his 26.5 career scoring average still stand as Cowboy records. He became the 20th collegian to break the 2,000 point barrier, amassing 2, 049 career points. He led the Western Athletic Conference in scoring each year he played at Wyoming, and he was selected to the All-WAC team three times. Flynn was named a Helms Foundation All-American three years. Nearly 30 years after his career, Robinson still ranked second in the WAC in career scoring. Robinson later had an All-Star career in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. Inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, September 16, 1994.
Kenneth Sailors (Hillsdale, Wyo., 1941-43, `46)
The only basketball player in Wyoming history to earn All-American three times. Sailors, a native of Hillsdale, Wyoming, was selected an All-American in 1942, 1943, and 1946. He was the unanimous selection for College Basketball Player of the Year in 1943 and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1943 NCAA tournament. After serving in Word War II, Sailors returned for his final season, and earned All-American and Player of the Year honors in 1946. He guided Wyoming to the NCAA championship in 1943. Sailors is credited with inventing the jump shot and played several seasons in the NBA. Inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, October 29, 1993.
Reginald Slater (Houston, Texas, 1989-92)
Wyoming's all-time leading rebounder, Reginald Slater was a dominating player. He is the first player in WAC history to win three consecutive rebounding championships. Named a first-team All-WAC selection for three years, the power forward continuously proved himself on the court. He was the 1992 WAC Player of the Year, as well as an Associated Press Honorable-Mention All-American his senior year. During his junior season, Slater led the WAC in field-goal shooting and was second in scoring. He posted the nation's best single-game rebounding effort of the year with 27. The "Big Cat" finished his career shooting .585 from the field and was named a Sports Illustrated College Player of the Week as a senior. He was selected All-District VII by the United States Basketball Writers and was named WAC player of the week on five separate occasions throughout his career. After leaving Wyoming, he became a successful professional player with a number of teams. Inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, September 13, 2002.
Tony Windis (Long Island, N.Y., 1957-59)
Windis was one of the finest pure shooters ever to play at the University of Wyoming, averaging 21.2 points per game for his Cowboy career which ranked him second in UW history. He is ranked fifth in single-season scoring average with 24.4 points per game tallied during the 1958-59 season, his senior year. With a career total of 1,465 points, Windis was on Wyoming's top ten career scoring list. He is ranked tenth in career field goals made (345), as well as in several single game categories, including second for points scored in a game with 50 vs. New Mexico on Jan. 10, 1958. Windis is also tied for second in field goals made (19) in that same game vs. New Mexico, and first in field goals attempted (38) vs. Montana on Feb. 5, 1959. He was all-conference for three years and was named Player of the Year in the Rockies for two consecutive years, 1958 and 1959. In 1977, after leaving the University of Wyoming, Windis became the first coach in all sports' history to win both a boys' and girls' state basketball championship in the same year while coaching in Mountain View, Wyo. Inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, October 1, 1999.