LOGAN, Utah – Utah State men’s basketball legend Wayne Estes will be inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 17, representing the first time that the hall of fame has inducted a member posthumously.
Estes was an All-American basketball player for Utah State University from 1963 to 1965 and to this day is still regarded as the best cager in school history.
On the night of February 8, 1965, Estes played the last game of his college career against the Denver University in the Nelson Fieldhouse on the USU campus. Estes, who scored the second-most points in a single-game in school history that night with 48 (trailing his school-record 52 points set a year earlier) eclipsed the 2,000 point mark with his final basket of the game to give him 2,001 points for his career. With his final basket, Estes became just the 18th player in NCAA history to score 2,000 points.
After the game, Estes and some friends stopped at the scene of a car accident near campus. While crossing the street, Estes brushed against a downed high power line and was fatally electrocuted.
A native of Anaconda, Mont., Estes came to Utah State in the summer of 1962 as a great all-around athlete who looked more like a football player and weight thrower in track than a basketball player. However, by the end of his freshman year, Estes had proved all of his doubters wrong as he set the USU freshman scoring record with 254 points.
As a varsity starter at the beginning of his sophomore season, Estes would go on to play and start in all 75 games during his illustrious Aggie career as he was held under 10 points just once, and wound up with 31 20-point games, 18 30-point games, seven 40-point games and a USU school record 52 points against Boston College during his senior season.
In all, Estes averaged 20.0 points as a sophomore and helped Utah State to the NCAA Tournament. During his junior year, Estes upped his scoring average to 28.3 points and again led the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament, this time to the regional semifinals, one of just 16 teams in the nation to advance that far. And during his senior campaign, Estes averaged 33.7 points per game, which ranked second in the nation, behind Miami’s Rick Barry.
A consensus All-American as a senior, Estes still ranks as the third-leading scorer in Utah State history with 2,001 points and is the fourth-leading rebounder in school history with 893. He still holds school records for career points per game at 26.7, free throws made in a career with 469, consecutive 10-point games with 64 in a row, points in a season with 821 as a junior, points per game in a season with his 33.7 average as a senior, points in a game with 52 against Boston College, and rebounds in a game with 28 versus Regis University.
Estes, who would have likely been a high draft pick in the National Basketball Association in 1965, became the first player ever to earn first-team All-American honors from the Associated Press before season’s end and was also posthumously named an All-American by Look Magazine, Converse, the Helms Foundation and the Sporting News. In 1967, Wayne was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Estes will be one of five inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame next week, joining Kelly Downs, Ed Eyestone, Scott Mitchell and Cael Sanderson. The induction banquet will take place at the Little America Hotel (500 South Main Street) with tickets set at $75. For more information or to buy tickets, please contact Chuck Schell (801) 262-9095 or Neil Petty (801) 944-2379.
About the Utah Sports Hall of Fame:
The Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation (USHOFF) was organized in 1967 as “The Old Time Athletes Association.” The goal then, as well as it is today, is to celebrate and preserve Utah’s storied sports heritage. In 1970, the Charter Class of 18 honorees was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Since then, a select number of administrators, coaches, players and prominent contributors to athletics in Utah have been inducted annually into the Hall of Fame. A beautifully-crafted plaque of recognition honoring each inductee is displayed in special Display Cases in the northeast corner of the Main Concourse of the Energy Solutions Arena.