Sailors known as pioneer of jump shot
The former Wyoming star helped the Cowboys become national champions in the 1942-43 season.
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.