UConn Legend - The Poughkeepsie Popper !! - Wes Bialosuknia

From 1964-67, a kid from Poghkeepsie, NY arrived on the Storrs and became it's most lethal long range shooter. Wes Bialosuknia, a kid who wanted to be a baseball player before watching a basketball game. And Wes was hooked ! Reading books on the game and it's mechanics and becoming a fan of Jerry West, practicing shot, after shot, after shot as a kid thru high school with hopes he could shoot like West. Even wearing #44

In High School, Wes averaged 40 points per game at Roosevelt HS where his teams won four State Division Championships. BUT, Wes was nearly a Syracuse Orangeman instead of a UConn Husky. At the time, Coach Fred Shabel didn't have a scholarship available. So Wes verballed to Syracuse. Shabel called him to tell him a scholarship opened up and wanted him in Storrs...to the point Shabel drove to Poghkeepsie to see Wes himself and sold him on coming to UConn.

But Wes nearly quit a month in, not sure if UConn was the right fit. He took a weekend off at home to think about it. And with a little push from his father, Wes gave it a go. Where we wouldn't disappoint at the Field House. The recruiting class featured among others, Tom Penders and Bill Hallowatty. Remember, in the 60's, freshmen didn't play on the Varsity, so Wes didn't play on the Elite 8 Team that lost to Duke in 1964. In his three seasons, Wes averaged 23.6ppg (28 his Sr Year) BOTH RECORDS TO THIS DAY..Shot 45% from the field and was an 84% free throw shooter. His teams went 56-18 and played in a pair of NCAA Tournaments as Yankee Conference Champion.

To this day, his 1,673pts has him at #11 on the all time scoring list at UConn. In fact he stayed in the top 10 until Jalen Adams passed him in 2019. Wes picked up career point #1,000 in a loss to Rhode Island on March 4, 1966 in his 47th game of his career. Still the fastest Husky to get to 1,000 pts....Behind him ?? Bob Boyd in 1971, game 53 and Richard Hamilton in 1998, game 55. And considering Wes didn't have a three point line back in the day even more remarkable. Wes remains at #5 in Field Goals made (665) and third all time in FT % (83.9%) Wes has scored at least 40 points in a game four times, including Senior Night against Rutgers in 1967. And earlier that season against Maine, he broke the school's single game scoring record, pouring in 50. Bill Corley scored 51 less than a year later..Of course Wes was a three time Yankee Conference, first team selection and was named an Academic All American in 1967.

Wes was drafted by the St Louis Hawks in the 4th round but never signed with them as he wanted a no-cut contract. So he played with Oakland of the ABA before finishing out his days in Hartford, for the Capitols of the Eastern League. Where there was a three point line and once, Wes made nine straight three's.

After his playing days, Wes went into the newspaper business. Working for the Hartford Times and the Bristol Press. Later taking up mountain climbing with his wife, Maureen and many other outdoor activities. He also was a longtime coach with in the Forestville Little League. He also Coached the first Bristol Boys and Girls Clubs 8th Grade Travel team that went 19-1 and won a Nedw England Championship. Sadly at the age of 68, Wes Bialosuknia passed away on October 23, 2013. After not returning to UConn for a long time, he became a regular behind the UConn bench at home games.

If only there were a three point line in Wes's days...can you only imagine ??

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