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USU Athletics: Utah State to hold ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening for Wayne Estes Center

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, May 12 2014 4:00 p.m. MDT

Artist's rendering of the Wayne Estes Center. Exterior view from the northwest.

Utah State University

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Utah State Athletics will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening for its newly completed Wayne Estes Center on Wednesday, May 14 at 1 p.m. The public is invited to the event, and tours will be available until 3 p.m.

"Some of our student-athletes viewed this facility just the other day and were absolutely blown away," USU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes said. "What sets this facility apart is its functionality as both a first-class basketball practice and elite volleyball competition venue. Our men and women's basketball coaches, along with volleyball, have some of the best office views in the entire valley and the finishes are spectacular."

During the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening, Barnes will recap the project. Other key speakers during the ceremony will include USU President Stan L. Albrecht, Wayne Estes' brother Ron Estes, USU men's basketball coach Stew Morrill, sophomore forward Jalen Moore, and key donors Jim Laub and Blake Kirby.

"Thanks to the Laub family, we now have one the finest facilities in the country," Barnes said. "Their desire to keep the Estes legacy alive makes this facility that much more special. Blake Kirby and others helped get us to the finish line and we are grateful."

The $9.7 million, 32,000 square-foot basketball practice facility and volleyball competition venue contains a regulation-size competition court with chair back seating for 1,400 fans, along with a training room and in season strength and conditioning area. Office space for men's and women's basketball and volleyball is also included in the new facility, as well as a locker room and film room for volleyball. Ticketing and concession services are also available on game days. Located inside the foyer of the Wayne Estes Center is a visual tribute of the building's namesake.

Wayne Estes was an All-American basketball player for Utah State University from 1963-1965 and still ranks as the third-leading scorer in Utah State history with 2,001 points and the fourth-leading rebounder (893). He holds school records for career points per game (26.7), free throws made in a career (469), consecutive 10-point games (64), points in a season (821), points per game in a season (33.7), points in a game (52) and rebounds in a game (28).

On the night of Feb. 8, 1965, Estes played the last game of his college career against the University of Denver 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, eclipsed the 2,000 point mark with his final basket of the game to give him 2,001 points for his career.

After the game, Estes and some friends stopped at the scene of a car accident near campus. While returning to their vehicle, Estes brushed against a downed high power line and was fatally electrocuted. Estes would have likely been a high draft pick in the NBA in 1965 as he was the second-leading scorer in the nation at 33.7 points per game, just behind Miami's Rick Barry.

Estes was posthumously given All-American honors by the Associated Press and also earned a posthumous consensus Second Team All-American distinction. In 1967, Estes was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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