Which Wyoming hoopster wore it best? No. 54
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.
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?
No. 54 - DICK SHERMAN
Forward, 1963-66, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Résumé in Laramie
* 77 games played at UW
* 14.6 points per game
* 8.2 rebounds per game
* Shot .486 from the field
* One of 38 UW players to score more than 1,000 points
* Led UW in field-goal percentage in three straight seasons
* Led the WAC in field-goal percentage in 1964-65
* UW Athletics Hall of Fame inductee 2007
* Cheyenne' Athlete of the Decade in 1960's
Team accomplishments were far and few during Dick Sherman's three-year career in Laramie, but that certainly wasn't his fault.
Sherman was one of the best home-grown players to ever slip a Wyoming jersey over his shoulders.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound forward from Cheyenne averaged 21.2 points per game during his senior season. He also pulled down 10.4 rebounds an outing. Those numbers still stack up against some of the best, both ranking 10th in program history.
Along with fellow Hall of Famer Flynn Robinson, the Cowboys averaged 91 points per game. That is still the most ever for a single season. Against Rhode Island that December, Sherman netted 44 points while shooting 19-of-33 shots from the field in a 107-101 loss.
That is still the sixth best single-game scoring performance. The 19 made field goals is ranked second all time. The 33 attempts is the sixth most in UW history.
Yet, the Pokes lost.
That was Sherman's career in a nutshell.
The Cheyenne Central graduate was inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. After graduation, Sherman became a helicopter pilot and served in Vietnam. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism and served 31 years in the United States Army.
Fennis Dembo will be the first one to tell you -- Jon Sommers (1983-88) made him tough. Without the 6-foot-6 monster in the paint, Dembo said there is no way he goes on to become Wyoming's all-time leading scorer. There's no way he gets drafted. There's no way the Cowboys dominate the way they did in the 80's.
If you followed this team in those days, you also know that without the gritty hellraiser, there's no chance the Pokes knock off UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1987 and advance to the Sweet 16.
Sommers stats won't pop off the page. He averaged less than five points and just 3.8 rebounds per game. But there's no stat for clogging up lanes and good ol' fashion intimidation. He was truly an enforcer at a time when fouls were earned.
Sommers was also known to throw a blow or two. It happened against UTEP in Laramie. The other came against Air Force. Here is an excerpt from a 1987 Sports Illustrated article titled "They're jumping for joy."
"Dembo's monologues in the heat of action invariably begin with something like "Let's see what you got" or "That's a three, and there'll be more." But surprisingly, only once have Dembo's antics resulted in fisticuffs. Last season he was thrown out of a game at Air Force for fighting, although 6'6" Cowboy enforcer Jon Sommers was the one who effectively ended the brawl with a one-punch knockout of an unfortunate Falcon."
Who wouldn't want that guy on their team?
Who else wore No. 54
Bob Steckman (50's), John Smidt (60's), Dick Bowers (60's), Ed Pollard (60's), Carl Ashley (60's), Jerry Brucks (70's), Gary Neumann (70's), Bill Alexander (70's), Joe Fazekas (70's), Al Eford (70's), Mike White (70's), Jim Renner (80's), Clint Bean (80's), Don Phillips (90's), Derek Washington (00's)
Look who wore the No. 53 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
* 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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