What’s in a Number?
Georgia Tech basketball newcomers' jersey numbers have a lot of history behind them
THE FLATS - For the first time in several years, none of Georgia Tech’s returning basketball players is changing his jersey number. All six of the Yellow Jackets’ scholarship players have worn the same jersey numbers for their entire careers.
The six new scholarship Jackets have their number assignments, and many of them have big jerseys to fill in terms of Tech basketball history. Among the incoming freshmen, forward Evan Cole will wear No. 3, guard Jose Alvarado will wear No. 10, forward Moses Wright will wear No. 12, and guard Curtis Haywood II has No. 13. Graduate transfer guard Brandon Alston, who wore No. 42 at Lehigh, will wear No. 4 at Tech.
Shembari Phillips, a transfer guard from Tennessee who wore No. 25 for the Vols, has taken No. 2, though he must sit out this season under NCAA rules. No. 25 is retired at Georgia Tech, worn by All-American Mark Price.
Ever wonder about Tech basketball history behind these jersey numbers? Here’s a primer.
Famous No. 3s: These five players who wore No. 3 combined to score 7,387 points in their Tech careers and all moved on to successful professional careers.
Cole and Wright are following players who wore those numbers with distinction in recent years.
Cole wore No. 0 in high school but chose No. 3 because zero is taken by sophomore Justin Moore. No. 3 at Tech was worn by Marcus Georges-Hunt, a four-year starter from 2012-16 who finished his career 11th on Tech’s all-time scoring list. Prior to that, the number was worn by All-America guards Travis Best (1991-95), Stephon Marbury (1995-96), Tony Akins (1998-2002) and Jarrett Jack (2002-05). Those players account for 7,387 career points scored.
Wright wore No. 5 at Enloe High School, a number occupied by sophomore Josh Okogie at Tech, so he chose No. 12. Tech’s most famous No. 12 – Kenny Anderson of course. The New York point guard was a freshman on the famed Lethal Weapon 3 trio that led the Jackets to their first Final Four, as well as an ACC championship, in 1990, before Anderson spent 14 seasons in the NBA. Most recently, Quinton Stephens set an all-time Georgia Tech record by playing in 135 games over the past four seasons.
The No. 10 worn by Jose Alvarado (also his high school number at Christ the King) was also worn by two of the top three assist men in Georgia Tech history, accounting for 1,283 assists. Drew Barry set the current Tech record with 724 handouts from 1992-96, and Craig Neal, whose 659 assists were the Yellow Jacket record when he finished his career in 1988, now ranks third.
The most famous No. 13, Curtis Haywood’s pick (he also wore No. 0 in high school), is undoubtedly Brian Oliver, the senior member of Lethal Weapon 3, who played in the NBA but achieved more lasting success playing in Italy. More recently, Robert Sampson wore the number during the 2014-15 season, and current assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie wore the number during first Tech season in 1999-2000.
Once an illegal number in college basketball, No. 2 was first worn legally at Tech by none other than LaBarrie as a Tech senior in 2000-01. Darryl Barnes, a forward on Tech teams in the early 1990s, wore No. 2 for one game in 1993, and Tech received a technical foul for doing so. After LaBarrie, it was worn proudly by standouts such at Isma’il Muhammad and Adam Smith. Grad transfer Jodan Price wore it last season.
The other member of Lethal Weapon 3, Dennis Scott, is undoubtedly the most successful Yellow Jacket to wear No. 4, the choice of Alston. But other big names, such as all-time shot-blocking leader Alvin Jones, two-time NBA champion Chris Bosh, and more recently post players Robert Carter, Jr., and Demarco Cox have worn No. 4.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its second year under head coach Josh Pastner after compiling a 21-16 record and posting a runner-up finish in the NIT. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.