Wyoming Cowboys To Retire Fennis Dembo’s #34 On Saturday
One of the greatest Wyoming Cowboys is coming home this weekend. Saturday, the Pokes will honor Fennis Dembo, officially hanging his #34 jersey from the rafters at the Arena-Auditorium.
Over 30 years after his final college game, Dembo's name is still all over the Wyoming record books. The 6'5" swingman is the all-time leading scorer in school history, tallying 2,311 points in four seasons with the Cowboys. His 954 rebounds now rank third on the career list, his 410 assists rank fifth, his 176 steals rank second, his 129 games played rank fifth, and his 95 blocks are tenth on the all-time list.
Like many of Wyoming's greatest athletes, Dembo wasn't highly recruited out of high school. Cowboys head coach Jim Brandenburg had previously been a high school coach in Dembo's hometown of San Antonio and was the first to offer him a scholarship. His recruiting trip to Laramie marked another first for Dembo; the first time he had ever seen snow.
It didn't take long for Dembo to make his mark at Wyoming. As a sophomore, the sharp-shooting, trash-talking forward helped the Pokes advance to the finals of the 1986 National Invitational Tournament. In '87, Dembo led the Cowboys to the NCAA Tournament, where they upset Virginia and UCLA on their way to a birth in the Sweet Sixteen. The '87 WAC Player of the Year was the leading scorer in the tournament, averaging nearly 28 points per game.
In his senior season, Dembo became the first Wyoming player to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He led the Cowboys back to the NCAA Tournament in '88, earning first-team All-WAC honors for a second consecutive season and a spot on the Associated Press All-American team.
After college, Dembo was drafted by the Detroit Pistons and won an NBA Championship in his only season. After spending several years in Europe and the CBA, he announced his retirement in 1998.
In 1993, Dembo was inducted into the University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame. Saturday, he will join the legendary inventor of the jump shot, Kenny Sailors, as the only Cowboys to have their numbers retired.