LARAMIE -- Do you ever see a number on a Wyoming basketball jersey and think of all the great players to wear it?

Yeah, me too.

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In this summer series, I’ll give you my take on which Pokes’ hoopster was the best ever to don each number. The criteria are simple: How did he perform at UW? What kind of impact did he have on the program?

 

Justin James and the Wyoming Men's Cowboy Basketball team was defeated by the Fresno State Bulldogs 75-62 at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie on Jan. 30, 2019./ UW Athletics media relations photo
Justin James and the Wyoming Men's Cowboy Basketball team was defeated by the Fresno State Bulldogs 75-62 at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie on Jan. 30, 2019./ UW Athletics media relations photo
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No. 1 - JUSTIN JAMES

Guard, 2015-19, Port Saint Lucie, Fla.

 

Résumé in Laramie

* 73 games started

* 131 games played

* 15.7 points per game

* 28.1 minutes per night

* Third in scoring in Wyoming history with 2,061 points

* 2016-17 Third Team All-Mountain West

* 2017-18 First Team All-Mountain West

* 2018-19 Second Team All-Mountain West

* 2016-17 Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year

 

Why James?

You can make an argument for all nine guys who have worn the No. 1 during their careers in Laramie.

John Kimball was named to the RMAC first team in four straight seasons and helped lead the Cowboys to a Helms Foundation Championship in 1934. Donta Richardson was an all-conference selection on back-to-back Mountain West title teams. JayDee Luster was the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12. Marcus Williams claimed Freshman of the Year honors in 2020-21.

Brad Jones slashed and gashed his way through Mountain West defenses. He's still seventh all-time in free throws made with 476. He's ranked eighth in assists with 351.

Steven Leven and Charles Hankerson had plenty of highlights, too.

Still, this decision was relatively easy. Justin James is the third all-time leading scorer in Wyoming history. That puts him in company with greats like Fennis Dembo, Brandon Ewing and Flynn Robinson. His 2,061 career points is also good enough for fifth most in conference history behind only BYU's Jimmer Fredette (2,599), Utah State's Sam Merrill (2,197), San Diego State's Brandon Heath (2,189) and Ewing, who capped his career with 2,168 points.

The Florida product was also named the Mountain West Conference's top sixth man in 2016-17. James arrived on campus in Larry Shyatt's final season. He made his mark under new head coach Allen Edwards, leading the Cowboys to a 24-win season and a CBI Championship as a sophomore.

Wyoming won 20 games again the following season before bottoming out in 2018-19 with a record of 8-24. That certainly wasn't James' fault. During his senior campaign, James averaged a team-high 22.1 points per game.

He parlayed his UW career into becoming the fourth pick of the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft. James played for the Sacramento Kings -- and their G-League team -- for three seasons. He is currently a member of the Cleveland Charge, an affiliate of the Cavaliers.

James is just one of 29 NBA Draft selections in Wyoming basketball history.

 

Who else wore No. 1

John Kimball (30's), Donta Richardson (00's), Steve Leven (00's), Brad Jones (00's), JayDee Luster (00's), Derrious Gilmore (10's), Charles Hankerson Jr (10's), Marcus Williams (20's)

 

Look who wore the No. 0 best right HERE.

Check out our "Who Wore it Best" football series right HERE.

All available rosters provided by the University of Wyoming Athletics Department. If we missed a player who wore this number, please email cody@7220sports.com

A number of players wore different jersey numbers during their careers. From the 1930's through the 50's, players were issued a home and an away jersey.

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