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?


Joe Capua, a Gary, Ind., native, was named the Skyline Conference Player of the Year during his senior campaign in Laramie./ UW Athletics courtesy photo
Joe Capua, a Gary, Ind., native, was named the Skyline Conference Player of the Year during his senior campaign in Laramie./ UW Athletics courtesy photo



Guard, 1953-56, Gary, Ind.


Résumé in Laramie

* 80 games started

* Skyline Conference Player of the Year in 1955-56

* Two-time First-Team All-Skyline Conference

* Held record for most points in a game with 51

* Held record for most points in a season with 637

* Third Team All-American in 1955-56

* Elected to National "Small-America" team by the UPI for the top players 5-foot-10 or shorter

* 2001 inductee to the UW Athletics Hall of Fame


Why Capua?

Despite growing up a stone's throw away from Indiana, Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, and other Big Ten programs, Joe Capua was mostly shunned by the "big boys" because of his stature.

Capua, all 5-foot-6 of him, was an All-State performer and prolific point guard at Lew Wallace High School in Gary, Ind. Milo" Komenich, another Gary product, suggested the University of Wyoming, a place he would play and star at in the 1940's.

It wasn't the power conference of the Midwest, but the Cowboys were just a decade removed from claiming a National and NIT Championship.

The media referred to Capua as “a ball of fire all over the court, passing, shooting, dribbling, defending, and stealing the ball.” He dazzled patrons inside the Fieldhouse in Laramie and made life miserable for opponents.

Capua, who eventually grew to 5-foot-9, earned back-to-back All-Skyline Conference nods. He was the league's Player of the Year as a senior, averaging 24.5 points per game. He netted a then-school and conference record 51 points Montana.

To this day, Capua is still ranked No. 1 in free-throw attempts in a single game with 26. That also came against the Griz. He made 19 of those, which is still the second-best mark in Wyoming hoops history.

After his playing days in Laramie, Capua went on to play AAU ball for the Denver-Chicago Truckers for four seasons. Capua died in 1988. He was just 53 years old.


Honorable mention

Casper's own Floyd Volker was the starting forward on the Cowboys 1943 National Championship squad. The Natrona County High School product played three seasons in Laramie before shipping off to World War II. Volker returned to the high plains for one final season in 1946-47.

Volker went on to play five seasons of professional basketball, making stops in Oshkosh, Indianapolis and Denver.

Volker died in 1995 at the age of 73.


Who else wore No. 6

Arthur Haman (30's) and Bob Cates (50's)


Look who wore the No. 5 best right HERE.

Check out our "Who Wore it Best" football series right HERE.

All available rosters and photos provided by the University of Wyoming Athletics Department. If we missed a player who wore this number, please email

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.

PRESS PASS: Roaming The War

Wyoming Cowboys vs. Montana State Bobcats

-PRESS PASS: Roaming The War

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