Wyoming’s Un-Sweet 16: No. 2 Danny Ainge vs. No. 7 Rafael Araujo
LARAMIE -- There's a few things that can land you on a list like this one.
Beating Wyoming with regularity certainly makes you a thorn in the side. Making stupid decisions will also draw the ire of fans. Being an all-round jerk will do it, too.
This is our version of the Un-Sweet 16, pitting the biggest villains in Wyoming Cowboys basketball history against one another and eventually crowning the worst of the worst. This won't be our opinion, it's yours. You can vote for who will advance to the next round by clicking on the box at the bottom of this page.
We did our best to round up the ultimate enemy of the Cowboy State. We reached out to people in the know, from different decades of UW basketball. Don't be surprised to see plenty of rivals on this list.
Here's today's matchup:
No. 2 Danny Ainge vs. No. 7 Rafael Araujo
I asked Wyoming legend Bill Garnett if Danny Ainge was a "crybaby."
"I call him a great competitor," he said of the former BYU star.
What about some of those memorable games against Ainge and the Cougars?
"We kicked their ass," Garnett said. "The WAC back then had three Top-20 teams. We feared nobody. Charles (Bradley) was a tremendous leader and (Jim Brandenburg) always has us prepared. Ainge was one of several tough competitors back then, but honestly, we were loaded with talent in '81. We felt like nobody was going to beat us at War Memorial Fieldhouse.
"That’s as nice as I can be about BYU."
Garnett, who was selected No. 4 overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1982 NBA Draft, faced Ainge six times during his time in Laramie. In each season -- 1978-1981 -- the two rivals split the season series.
One that stands out most is the final meeting.
Wyoming slid past No. 15 BYU 86-84 in double overtime in front of a raucous crowd inside the old Fieldhouse. Legend has it Ainge tried to undercut a leaping Mike Jackson, who instead used the senior's back as a springboard for the game-tying dunk. Ainge missed a wide-open shot at the end of regulation.
The debris hit the floor, BYU's WAC title hopes were dashed and Frank Arnold opened his mouth, labeling Cowboys fans "despicable," an unofficial title that was worn as a badge of honor in those days.
Wyoming would claim a conference crown with wins over Utah, Air Force and UNLV to close out the season. The Pokes knocked off Howard in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Illinois, 67-65, two days later.
Let's face it, Ainge was good. Really good.
Most players and coaches on this list will be. His coast-to-coast drive and jump shot to beat Notre Dame and advance to the Elite Eight is still played every March. Four times he was named an All-WAC Selection. In '81, he was named the league's Player of the Year and earned the title of All-American after averaging 24.4 points per game.
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BYU allowed its student-athletes to have tattoos back in 2004, they just weren't permitted to get inked while attending the ultra-conservative religious institution.
That was good news for 6-foot-11, 265-pound forward Rafael Araujo, who was nothing short of a walking billboard for the school for two seasons in the early 2000's.
His tats made him standout, his smirk -- and game -- made him a disliked figure amongst fans across the Mountain West.
Araujo played against Wyoming five times during his brief career in Provo. He won all of them, including a 79-74 victory over the Cowboys in the second round of the '04 conference tourney in Denver. That night in the Mile High City, Araujo netted 17 points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.
He was known to have big games against the Pokes.
Araujo, who was named the league's Player of the Year and earned All-American status in '04, averaged 16.4 points per outing -- a high of 24 during his senior season inside the Arena-Auditorium -- to go along with nearly 10 rebounds. He hit just 6-of-17 shots that night in Laramie, but he added a career-best 12 free throws on an eye-popping 17 attempts.
That's the definition of maddening.
Let's face it, most of us didn't like Araujo for two reasons: one, he was dominant, helping lead the Cougars to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances Two, it appears BYU turned a blind eye to its own honor code to land the dominant Brazilian.
During his senior year, it was alleged the school doctored media guide photos of the big man, conveniently leaving out the ink that covered the top of both arms. BYU denied the allegations, stating the picture was from his junior season. Still, he obviously got new tats while attending the institution, a big no-no -- or so we thought.
"We have touched up photos for years -- as far as removing tattoos, covering up belly buttons, just things like that," School spokesman Duff Tittle told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Tittle was also quoted as saying the new ink Araujo had applied in the offseason was "dealt with."
He never missed a game for disciplinary reasons.
WYOMING'S UN-SWEET 16 SERIES:
Monday: No. 1 Reid Family vs. No. 16 Paco Larsen (Reid Family moves on with 95.5% of the vote)
Tuesday: No. 2 Danny Ainge vs. No. 15 Antonio Davis (Ainge moves on with 93.4% of the vote)
Wednesday: No. 3 Rick Majerus vs. No. 14 David Turcotte (Majerus moves on with 92% of the vote)
Thursday: No. 4 Frank Arnold vs. No. 13 Lee Cummard (Arnold moves on with 74.8% of the vote)
Friday: No. 5 Larry Eustachy vs. No. 12 Joe Scott (Eustachy moves on with 58.1% of the vote)
Monday: No. 6 Michael Smith vs. No. 11 Norm Ellenberger (Smith moves on with 61.4% of the vote)
Tuesday: No. 7 Rafael Araujo vs. No. 10 Petie Gibson (Araujo moves on with 94.8% of the vote)
Wednesday: No. 8 Key Injuries vs. No. 9 MW Officials (Key Injuries moves on with 72% of the vote)
Thursday: No. 1 Reid Family vs. No. 8 Key Injuries (Reid Family moves on with 57.4% of the vote)
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players