- One of the all-time greats to don a Cougar uniform, Nelson led his team in scoring three years in a row
- Earned three All-Conference nods
- Named Helms All-America in his sophomore season
- Prepped at Spanish Fork High School
- Was All-State in football and basketball
- Was on the 1945 state track championship team
- Toured the country in 1950 as a member of the College All-American team
- Played 18 games against the Harlem Blobetrotters
- Played a year of professional basketball with the Waterloo Hawks and the St. Paul Lights
Post BYU Honors and Societies
- Received the Dale Rex Memorial Award for his contribution to amateur athletics in Utah in 1950
- Inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1979
Year G FGM FTM P-AVE 46-47 23 36 37 106-4.7 47-48 24 131 106 368-15.3 48-49 34 204 121 529-15.5 49-50 31 171 121 463-14.9 Totals 114 552 390 1494-13.1
1979 BYU Hall of Fame
At Spanish Fork High School, Joe Nelson was All-State in football and basketball and was on the 1945 state track championship team.
After coming to BYU, “Jumpin’ Joe” was a three-year All-Conference basketball star and was named to the Helms All-American team in 1948 the year he set an individual game conference scoring record against Denver with 37 points. He was the conference scoring champion that year and again in 1950. Nelson concluded career as BYU's all-time leading scorer with 1,494 points.
Joe was selected for many all-star teams during his career, including the Los Angeles National Invitational Tournament (1948), Skyline Conference All-Tournament Team (1949), NCAA Western All-Star Team (1950), and the East-West All-Star Game (1950).
Joe toured the country in 1950 as a member of the College All-American team, playing 18 games against the Harlem Globetrotters. He played a year of professional basketball with the Waterloo Hawks and St. Paul Lights. In 1950 he received the Dale Rex Memorial Award for his contribution to amateur athletics in Utah.
- Led team in scoring with 368 points
- Named All-America by Helms
- Led team to Skyline Conference championship
- Scored a conference record 37 points against Denver
- Named All-Conference
- Played in the Los Angeles National Invitational Tournament
- Averaged 15.9 points while scoring 529 points on a team that went 11-9
- Named All-Conference (Skyline)
- Played on the Skyline Conference all-tournament all-star team
- Appeared in 29 games and averaged 14.5 points and 2.1 rebounds per game to lead the team in scoring for third year in a row
- Named to the Globetrotter tour
- Named All-Conference and to the Western All-NCAA team
- Played on the NCAA western all-star team and in the East-West all-star game
Summary from the 1949-50 Media Guide
All-American in anybody's language, Nelson will be playing his fourth year as a regular on the Cougar quintet. Joe garnered All-American rating two years ago on the Helms team when the Cougars gathered all the conference honors that could be had, and has placed all-conference for three years. A real team man, Nelson often forfeits good chances to score if someone else is in a better position, but when the time comes to make two points, this lad is "Mr. Basketball" himself. Nelson broke the conference scoring record two years ago, scoring more points in ten games than the former record-holder scored in twelve, and also broke the individual-game conference record. Although both records were broken by Denver's great Vince Boryla last season, Nelson will be making another crack at both of them this year. Nelson typifies the Cougar "fast-break" type of offense and is equally apt to steal a ball from an opponent or drive in for a set-up at breakneck speed. His favorite shots seem to be a backhand shot at the basket a#er driving in under, but has uncanny shooting ability from far out. Nelson sacrificed his offense last year to help out on defense (he was the outstanding rebound man on last year's squad besides being the high scorer) but will be able to come into his own this season with help on the backboards from taller men. Watch this man Nelson-he's destined to become one of the lntermountain west's greatest all-time basketeers.