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?

 

No. 12 - BOB WILSON

Guard, 1966-69, Denver, Colo.

 

Résumé in Laramie

* Played in the 1966-67 NCAA Tournament

* Played in back-to-back National Invitational Tournaments

 

Why Wilson?

There are plenty of recognizable names to wear the No. 12 in Laramie -- Al Simpson, Steve Gosar, Josh Dees and Galand Thaxton -- but this honor belongs to a player that helped the Cowboys get to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly a decade, Bob Wilson.

"Wyoming's Cowboys were supposed to have had about as much chance of winning the WAC championship last year as they did of driving from Laramie to Cheyenne without snow tires."

That's how a feature story in a December issue of a 1967 Sports Illustrated begins.

No, Bill Strannigan's Pokes weren't expected to make much noise during the 1966-67 campaign. In fact, that rag-tag bunch finished the season just a game over .500 at 15-14. However, Wilson and his teammates turned it on during WAC play, rolling to an 8-2 record, including a season sweep of league favorite and No. 3-ranked New Mexico. UW also split a two-game series with another powerhouse, BYU.

Wyoming won seven straight to close out the regular season, claiming a WAC title and becoming one of just 23 teams to clinch a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Unfortunately the celebration was short lived.

Top-ranked UCLA and some guy named Lew Alcindor awaited the Cowboys in the first round. You might know him better as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Alcindor scored a game-high 29 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in a 109-60 rout of the undersized underdogs. Wilson, then a sophomore, netted just five points and pulled down three boards in the loss.

The Cowboys bounced back to make back-to-back National Invitational Tournament runs.

In 1969, Wyoming was back on top of the WAC -- alongside co-champion BYU -- and faced Bob Knight's Army team in the first round. Knight, of course, would go on to lead Indiana to three national championships and become the winningest coach in Division-I basketball history.

The guy Wilson squared up with during that heartbreaking 51-49 loss to the Black Knights was another small guard named Mike Krzyzewski, who won three national titles as the head coach at Duke. Future Colorado coach Tom Miller also suited up for Army.

“There wasn’t a shot clock in those days,” Wilson told the Denver Post back in 2007. “I don’t think anybody shot the ball in the last eight minutes.”

Wilson went on to become, what else, a basketball coach. He has stints at Nebraska (Omaha), Northern Colorado and Colorado State before spending 11 seasons as the head coach and athletic director at Phillips University in Enid, Okla. Wilson, who played at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, spent the next decade at Hawaii-Hilo before moving to Vanguard University in California where he spent the next 21 years of his professional career.

Wilson retired in 2016.

 

Who else wore No. 12

Donald Waite (40's), Bob Clements (50's), Bill Gore (50's), Al Simpson (50's), Ed Huse (50's), Ron Bora (50's), LeRoy Hulsebus (50's), Bill Nelson (60's), Paul Homar (60's), Reuben Poindexter (60's), Mike Colby (70's), Bob Romanski (70's), John Wood (70's), Peter Zimmerman (70's), Jettie Rice (70's), Tim Tucker (70's), Brandon Adams (80's), Stanley Dallas (80's), Tony Brown (80's), Kraig Kluge (80's), Stewart Barnett (80's), Steve Gosar (90's), Josh Dees (00's), Byron Geis (00's), Galand Thaxton (00's), Riley Grabau (20's), Cody Kelley (10's), Hunter Maldonado (10's), Greg Milton (10's)

 

Look who wore the No. 11 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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