Utah basketball in the spotlight, hang jerseys for Ogden Misaka, Chambers natives | News, Sports, Jobs


BENJAMIN ZACK, standard examiner

Wataru ‘Wat’ Misaka signs a basketball toy during the unveiling of a new basketball court named in his honor at Liberty Park in Ogden on Tuesday August 14, 2018. Misaka grew up in Ogden and played basketball ball at Ogden High School, Weber College and the University of Utah before being drafted by the New York Knicks in 1947. Misaka, who is Japanese-American, was the first non-white athlete to play in the basketball in what would later become the NBA. Ogden City named the new resurfaced field “Kilowatt Court” in honor of Misaka’s nickname. About a hundred people came to honor Misaka at the official inauguration of the court.

The University of Utah men’s basketball program is set to induct two Ogden natives into its circle of honor with “jersey of honor” ceremonies in the coming month.

The Utes will honor the late Wataru Misaka in two weeks and Tom Chambers in early February, the school said.

Utah initially announced that he would honor Misaka in February 2020 after her death at the age of 95 on November 21, 2019. This ceremony was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but will now take place on January 22 when the Utes are expected to host USC.

Misaka graduated from Ogden High in 1941. He helped Weber State Junior College win consecutive junior national championships in 1942-43 and was named MVP of the JUCO National Tournament in 1942.

Misaka went to the University of Utah and played point guard for the 1944 NCAA Tournament Utah Championship team and the 1947 NIT Championship team. Between his two seasons playing for Utah, Misaka was drafted into the United States Army and rose to the rank of Master Sgt.

He was then drafted by the New York Knicks and is considered the first non-Caucasian player in American professional basketball.

Chambers was born in Ogden in 1959 and lived in the area for some time before graduating from high school in Colorado. He returned to Utah to play for the Utes from 1977 to 1981. He was a two-time All-WAC center and led Utah to a WAC title and a Sweet 16 appearance in 1981.

The San Diego Clippers drafted Chambers eighth in 1981, beginning his 16-year professional career in which Chambers played for the Clippers, Sonics, Suns and Jazz. He was four times NBA All-Star and two-time All-NBA. He is currently a studio analyst for Phoenix Suns TV shows.

The Chambers ceremony is scheduled for February 5, when Utah hosts Oregon.

Misaka and Chambers will be the eighth and ninth Utah male players to have their jerseys hung from the rafters at the Huntsman Center.

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