Sailors known as pi­o­neer of jump shot

The for­mer Wy­oming star helped the Cow­boys be­come na­tional cham­pi­ons in the 1942-43 sea­son.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

laramie » Kenny Sailors, the Col­lege Bas­ket­ball Hall of Famer cred­ited by some with be­ing the first player to use the mod­ern jump shot, died Satur­day. He was 95.

Sailors died in his sleep at an as­sist­edliv­ing cen­ter in Laramie, the Univer­sity of Wy­oming an­nounced.

Wy­oming ath­letic di­rec­tor Tom Bur man called Sailors a great rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the univer­sity and the state.

“He touched so many lives,” Bur­man said in a news re­lease. “For years af­ter he moved back to Laramie, he­would come to Cow­boy and Cow­girl prac­tices and games. He was a great men­tor for our stu­den­tath­letes.”

Sailors led Wy­oming to the NCAA ti­tle in the 1942-43 sea­son. He was the na­tional player of the year and most out­stand­ing player of that NCAA Tour­na­ment.

Sailors said he de­vel­oped the jump shot as a young­ster while play­ing against his older, taller brother on a makeshift dirt bas­ket­ball court on their Wy­oming farm.

He played five years in the NBA for sev­eral teams, spend­ing his last sea­son in 1950-51 with Bos­ton and Bal­ti­more. The 5- foot-10 guard av­er­aged 17.3 points per game for Den­ver in the 1949-50 sea­son.

In 2012, when he­was 91, he­was in­ducted into the Na­tional Col­le­giate Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame in a class that in­cluded Ken­tucky coach Joe B. Hall, Pa­trick Ewing and Earl Mon­roe. Af­ter his in­duc­tion, Sailors said it was a great honor but jok­ingly added: “The only ad­van­tage I got over them is I’m good look­ing and got a jump shot.”

His col­lege ca­reer was in­ter­rupted by World War II. He en­listed in the Marines and served in the South Pa­cific.

Sailors re­turned to Wy­oming for the 1945-46 sea­son and again earned Al­lAmer­ica hon­ors. He was a two-time con­sen­sus All-Amer­i­can, in 1943 and 1946.

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