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.

Get our free mobile app

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?

 

DENVER - MARCH 09: Justin Williams #2 of the Wyoming Cowboys grabs a rebound from Jacob Burtschi #21 of the Air Force Academy Falcons as the Cowboys upset the Falcons 57-55 during the Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament on March 9, 2006 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER - MARCH 09: Justin Williams #2 of the Wyoming Cowboys grabs a rebound from Jacob Burtschi #21 of the Air Force Academy Falcons as the Cowboys upset the Falcons 57-55 during the Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament on March 9, 2006 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
loading...

 

No. 2 - JUSTIN WILLIAMS

Forward, 2004-06, Chicago, Ill.

 

Résumé in Laramie

* 56 games started

* 10.1 points per game

* 26.9 minutes per game

* 2004-05 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year

* 2005-06 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year

* 2004-05 Third Team All-Mountain West

* 2005-06 Third Team All-Mountain West

* 2005-06 Mountain West All-Tournament Team

* Three-time Mountain West Player of the Week

 

Why Williams?

Only three players in Wyoming basketball history have landed a triple-double.

Theo Ratliff did it back in 1995 against San Diego State. That night, the future NBA star netted 20 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked 11 shots against the Aztecs. Last winter, Hunter Maldonado also joined the triple-double club against SDSU, scoring 13 points and finishing with 11 boards and the same number of assists.

The other belongs to Justin Williams.

The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Chicago product did it on the league's biggest stage, too, rejecting a dozen shots in a 60-47 upset win over Utah in the semifinals of the 2006 Mountain West Tournament in Denver. That is the most blocks in a single game in Wyoming history.

Williams added 10 points and 15 boards in the victory over the Utes.

After spending his first two collegiate seasons at Colby Community College in Kansas, Williams became yet another Steve McClain recruit from the Windy City, joining Jason Straight and eventually Brandon Ewing.

Williams averaged 10.1 points and nearly nine rebounds per night during his career in Laramie. Despite playing just 58 games at UW, Williams is in the program's record books for rebounding average (4th-8.7), blocked shots (2nd-244) and blocked-shot average (1st-4.2).

He also litters the Top 10 in single-season stats in 2005-06: Blocked shots (1st-163), blocked-shot average (1st-5.4), rebounds (2nd-329), rebounding average (5th-11), double-doubles (7th-15).

"He was an outstanding rebounder and defender," Straight said on Wednesday. "I knew anytime I got beat off penetration, he was behind me. I always knew he would be right there to make up for my mistakes.

"He was a tremendous player, funny and outgoing. It was a joy to play with him."

Williams went undrafted in 2006 but landed in the NBA Development League. There, he did just enough to catch the eye of pro scouts and eventually landed on the roster of the Sacramento Kings from 2007-08. After a brief stint in Houston, Williams headed overseas where he thrived in a number of leagues.

In 2014, he was named the A Sean Basketball League (ABL) Defensive Player of the Year. Two years later, Williams was named the MVP of the Argentine League.

Straight said Williams is a new father and retired in the Chicago area.

 

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 14: Riley Grabau #2 of the Wyoming Cowboys looks to pass the ball against the San Diego State Aztecs during the championship game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 14, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wyoming won 45-43. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 14: Riley Grabau #2 of the Wyoming Cowboys looks to pass the ball against the San Diego State Aztecs during the championship game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 14, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wyoming won 45-43. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
loading...

 

Honorable mention

Riley Grabau gets a nod here.

The former sharp-shooter was nearly automatic at the free-throw line, sinking .882 of his attempts (217-of-246) from 2011 through 2015. His best offensive season was during his junior year when he averaged 10.1 points per game.

As a senior, Grabau helped lead the Cowboys to their 15th appearance in the NCAA Tournament after a three-game sweep of the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas.

Grabau was a member of Jeff Linder's original staff in Laramie and is now an assistant coach at Cal State Monterey Bay.

 

Who else wore No. 2

Stanley Christensen (30's), Jerry Webb (00's), James Spencer (00's), Arthur Bouedo (00's), Riley Grabau (10's), Austin Conway (10's), Andrew Moemeka (10's), AJ Banks (10's), Drew Lamont (20's), Deng Dut (20's)

 

Look who wore the No. 1 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.

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, 7220Sports.com counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players