UW standout Fennis Dembo’s number retired

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The jersey of Wyoming basketball star Fennis Dembo was retired this weekend by the University of Wyoming.

Dembo, who played for the Cowboys from 1984 through 1988, attended ceremonies in Laramie on Saturday when the university retired the jersey bearing Dembo’s college number — 34 — during the Cowboys’ game against New Mexico.

During his four years as a Cowboy, Dembo scored 2,311 points and led Wyoming to appearances in the NIT Finals and the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Tournament.

Fans who attended the event Saturday remembered watching Dembo while he played for the Cowboys.

“We loved Fennis Dembo,” said Jim Wangberg of Laramie. “He brought so much joy to the court, it would spread. It was contagious.”

“His charisma,” said Cathy Milczewski of Cheyenne. “Man, everybody loved him. When he was on the floor, all eyes were on Fennis.”

Sean Dent, a teammate of Dembo’s at Wyoming, also shared some memories.

“I believe we were playing BYU and he was 0-10,” he said. “He banked one in at the top of the key and said ‘I’m hot.’ He ended up with 30. So he was hot and he was fun to play with.”

Dembo recalled Wyoming as being his home.

“I started off here as an 18-year-old kid and people still remember this 30-some years later,” he said. “This is great, this is home. This is where it all started.”

The key to success for a team like Wyoming’s is the ability to recognize the moments that can change a season, Dembo said.

“It’s moments that occur during the season that you have to grasp,” he said. “To finally say ‘This, as a team, can define us.’”

After graduating from Wyoming, Dembo was drafted by the Detroit Pistons, where he played for one season. During that season, the Pistons won an NBA championship and Dembo on Saturday donated the ring he won for playing on that championship team to the University of Wyoming.

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