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?

 

Fennis Dembo helped lead the Cowboys to an NIT Championship game berth and back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament during his career in Laramie./ UW Athletics courtesy photo
Fennis Dembo helped lead the Cowboys to an NIT Championship game berth and back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament during his career in Laramie./ UW Athletics courtesy photo
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No. 34 - FENNIS DEMBO

Forward, 1984-88, San Antonio, Texas

 

Résumé in Laramie

* 129 games played at UW

* 17.9 points per game

* Leading scorer in UW history with 2,311

* One of four UW players to reach 2,000 points

* Third leading rebounder with 954

* Fifth in assists with 410

* Most field goals made with 823

* Third in 3-point field goal percentage with .396

* Two NCAA Tournament appearances (1986-87, 1987-88)

* NIT Championship appearance (1985-86)

* Two First-Team All-WAC selections

* Second-Team All-WAC selection

* Two-time WAC Champion

* Two-time All-WAC Tournament Team selection

* One of 10 members of UW All-Century Team

* UW Athletics Hall of Fame inductee 1993

 

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Why Dembo?

What can you say about the great Fennis Dembo.

Well, he certainly talked the talk. Night in and night out during his four-year career in Laramie, he more than walked the walk, too.

No one in the history of the Wyoming basketball program scored more points than the San Antonio product. His records -- now more than three decades old -- have stood the test of time. So have the legendary tales of leaping into the crowd inside The Pit, firing up student sections from El Paso to Fort Collins to Provo and netting a career-high 41 points in a 78-68 upset win over Reggie Miller and the UCLA Bruins in 1987 to advance the Cowboys to the Sweet 16.

Here is an excerpt from an LA Times article entitled Wyoming Puts Fennis-ing Touch to UCLA Season: “UCLA is back, all right. Back home. Missing from the NCAA tournament for four years, the Bruins are gone again, forced to leave Saturday when Wyoming pulled Fennis Dembo out of a Cowboy hat and made them disappear,” Thomas Bonk wrote.

“Too often, Dembo was playing against no one,” the article continued. “It isn't often that the Bruins get out-Reggied, but while Miller was getting bumped around by Jonathan Sommers inside, a surprise defensive match-up, UCLA unwisely left Dembo by himself.”

There were plenty of other moments, too.

And who can forget the Dazzlin' Dude gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated or sitting on the rim inside the Arena-Auditorium after knocking off Clemson 62-57 to clinch a berth in the Final Four of the 1986 NIT.

"Wyoming was my fit."

That's what Dembo told me inside his Texas home back in 2019. Other offers -- bigger offers -- came late. The Fox Tech star already had his mind made up. He put his trust in Jim Brandenburg. It paid off.

“I never made the glamorous choice. Wyoming wasn’t the glamorous choice, but my life has been so blessed that I’ve always made the right choice," Dembo said.

Rival fans called him "Dumbo," "Showboat" and "Hot dog." That was a badge of honor, Dembo said with a smile. He must have been doing something right.

Check out our feature story on Dembo right HERE.

Dembo was inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in the initial class of 1993. In 2019, Dembo's No. 34 jersey was raised to the rafters in Laramie, joining Kenny Sailors as just the second Cowboy to ever receive that honor.

 

 

Honorable mention

Tim Breaux (1988-92) is one of just 38 players in Wyoming history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark. The Zachary, Louisiana product averaged 12.5 points per game and as a senior netted 16.3, earning Second-Team All-WAC honors.

Breaux, who went on to win an NBA Championship with the Houston Rockets in 1995, still ranked seventh all time in program history for top field-goal percentage (.547). Breaux started 104 games during his career in Laramie, which is the seventh most in UW history.

 

 

Who else wore No. 34

Ken Chase (50's), Bill French (60's), Gordon Swanson (60's), Gary Meckelburg (60's), Randy Richardson (60's), Kent Johnson (60's), Steve Mountjoy (60's), Ted Roney (60's), Jack Adams (70's), Delbert McDonald (70's), Kevin Patrick (70's), Vincent Johnson (80's), Mike Brown (80's), Jimmy White (90's), Chris Anderson (00's), Lwal Dung (10's)

 

Look who wore the No. 33 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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