No. 31 facts about Arizona’s hoops program as we are now 31 days from tip-off:
I have tried before to gain acknowledgement that Jason Terry’s No. 31 should be hanging from the McKale Center rafters, but until the Pac-12 presidents agree, it’s a dead issue.
In the last vote in 2009, the league presidents voted 8-2 to not allow Terry’s No. 31 to be retired at McKale Center. School officials made another attempt in 2011, but it was futile because the same league presidents voted against Terry before.
Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne supports the idea of retiring Terry’s number but is bound by what the conference presidents decide.
Terry allegedly took more than $11,000 from two agents before his senior season at Arizona in 1998-99. The NCAA forced the UA to forfeit the $45,362 for its NCAA tournament appearance in 1999, when the UA lost to Oklahoma in the first round in Terry’s last game as a Wildcat.
Terry has since repaid Arizona the $45,362 and has talked about his desire to be among others whose jersey numbers have been retired — Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Mike Bibby and Jason Gardner.
The UA’s criteria to have a number retired is for the athlete to be a national player of the year. Terry achieved such an honor by Sports Illustrated, CBS/Chevrolet and Rawlings/Basketball Times as a senior.
He is the only player in Arizona history to collect more than 1,000 career points and 200 career steals. He holds the school record with 245 career steals.
“Hopefully one day my jersey will be up in the rafters,” Terry told me in 2010. “I don’t know when. It would be a tremendous honor.”
In the next video, Terry talks about getting his No. 31 back with the Brooklyn Nets after having to wear No. 4 last year with the Boston Celtics:
Two other No. 31s of note are Fred W. Enke, who was a three-time Border Conference selection, and Frank Smith, who led the Wildcats in blocked shots in each of his four seasons.
Enke gained most of his acclaim on the football field. Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com ranked Enke, who went on to quarterback in the NFL, as the No. 40 football player in UA history.
Smith, a gangly 6-10 center, was the last productive recruit from the Fred Snowden era. He scored 1,329 points in his career, a 12.2 average, and led the UA in field-goal shooting in his last three seasons.
UA junior power forward Matt Korcheck, a transfer from Cochise College who redshirted last season, is the first Wildcat to wear No. 31 since Terry’s departure in 1999. Korcheck overall has some historic shoes to fill.
A Sabino High School graduate, he is the first Tucson player on the Wildcats’ roster since Darnell Shumpert transferred in 2010 to Cal State San Bernardino and the first Arizona junior college product to be recruited as a scholarship player in more than 30 years when Troy Cooke, also a Flowing Wells grad, played for the Cats.
Countdown to Tip-off Blogs:
— No. 32 most storied jersey number in Arizona Wildcats history
— No. 33 in Arizona Wildcats history symbolic of hard work ethic, ideal role players
— Simon says: No. 34 special with two of Arizona Wildcats’ greatest wearing jersey number
— If Arizona Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski has field-goal percentage like Jud Buechler, UA will be fine
— Arizona Wildcats legend Sean Elliott scored career-high 36 points opposing Sean Miller
— Nick Johnson looks to improve perimeter shooting, limit turnovers
— Jordin Mayes hoping to return to shooting form earlier in Arizona Wildcats career
— 39 days and counting toward Arizona Wildcats’ season
— Joe Skaisgir best Arizona Wildcats basketball player you’ve never heard of
— Nick Johnson looks to improve FG percentage while Arizona Wildcats limit opponents
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— Jordan Hill climbed hill for notoriety while Ed Nymeyer lived up to hype with Arizona Wildcats
— Fantastic Four who wore No. 44: Jersey special for Arizona Wildcats program
— Two of Arizona Wildcats’ best centers — Sean Rooks and Channing Frye — donned No. 45
— Arizona Wildcats great Ernie McCray reminisces about his record-setting 46-point performance
— Arizona Wildcats star recruit should not be compared to Blake Griffin
— Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller on fast track to Pac-12 success
— Things you may not know about Arizona Wildcats point guard T.J. McConnell
— Arizona Wildcats will benefit from presence of Joseph Blair in practice
— Arizona Wildcats preparing for what could be memorable 2013-14 season