It’s a time honored tradition: Mining off-season content from the Marquette men’s basketball team announcing the uniform numbers for all of the new guys joining the roster for next season. No time like the present to get started on figuring out who is wearing what number, after all. That’s even more important this coming season, as there are eight newcomers to the roster from last season.
Heck, we even have one of the returning players changing numbers for next season, so let’s start there, shall we?
Justin Lewis — #10
#mubb We are revealing the numbers our newcomers have selected for their @Jumpman23 uniforms, but we start with a change for @jusbuckets_5, who goes back to his high school number in 2021-22. pic.twitter.com/0kCSIPmtY3— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) June 3, 2021
With Symir Torrence leaving for Syracuse, that opened up #10 for Lewis to jump over there from the #2 he wore as a freshman this past season. Lewis wearing number #10 means that the number remains on the active roster for a sixth straight season after Sam Hauser wore it for three years before Torrence.
None of these guys are within shouting distance of the best Marquette players to wear #10, though. That honor clearly goes to Tony Miller, Marquette’s all-time leader in career assists, who wore it from 1992-1995. Part of Miller’s easy victory here is because of he wore #10 for multiple season. Both Cordell Henry and Travis Diener wore it for one year right around the turn of the century. We also can’t ignore the four years of Juan Toscano-Anderson wearing #10 for Marquette, although I don’t think anyone foresaw us being able to say that when JTA’s MU career came to an end in 2015.
Okay, with that one out of the way, we now go in numerical order for the EIGHT guys who are new to the team for 2021-22.
Kam Jones — #1
I don’t know what the deal is with this, but every single person to have worn #1 for Marquette played in the 21st Century. Todd Townsend was the first in 2001-02, and Brendan Bailey was the most recent in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Even with that little history attached to the number, Jones still has a lot to live up to, as #1 was worn for seven straight seasons by Dominic James and then Darius Johnson-Odom. You can flip a coin on which one of those guys is the best Golden Eagle to ever wear #1, although I think I would end up arguing on DJO’s behalf if you made me pick a side.
Emarion Ellis — #2
The second number in the sequence is almost on the “21st Century only” bit as #1, but James Blask (1933-35) broke the barrier first. It went unworn by a Marquette player until Odartey Blankson busted it out in 2000-01. Ellis picking it up after Lewis moved to #10 means that #2 will be in use for an eighth consecutive season after John Dawson and Sacar Anim wore it before Lewis. Heck, if Vander Blue didn’t switch to #13 for his final year at MU, #2 would be an active number on the roster going all the way back to Maurice Acker picking it out in 2007. I think we have to go with Blue as the best MU player to wear the number, although Acker and Anim both had pretty solid runs with it.
Stevie Mitchell — #4
I don’t know what it was about #1 and #2 that made them go without being used in the 20th century, but the same can not be said about #4. Gene Berce wasn’t the first, that goes to Robert Meyers in 1943, but Berce made an early claim as the best MU guy to ever wear it. Berce was the first Marquette player to ever score 1,000 points in a career, and he was the first MU player to be selected in a professional basketball draft as well. Berce’s claim as the best #4 lasted at least until Cordell Henry wore in from 2000 to 2002. I suppose you could make a claim that Theo John, the most recent #4, is the best Marquette player to ever wear the number as John wrapped up his four years at MU with the second most blocked shots in program history. The only catch there, of course, is that the NCAA was only actually tracking blocks since the mid-1980s, so who knows if Don Kojis or whoever was really good at it. I’d have to say that the newly minted Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania has a chance to etch his name amongst these all-time MU greats as the best player to wear #4 by the time his career is over.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper — #12
There is a long list of player who have worn #12 for Marquette through the years. Allie McGuire probably became the clear best guy to wear the number when he had it between 1970 and 1973, but the 1-2 punch of Robb Logterman (90-94) and Aaron Hutchins (94-98) took the crown from McGuire. Dwight Burke was a very good #12 in the early part of the 21st century, and the recent seven year run of Derrick Wilson and Matt Heldt is going to hold a warm spot in a lot of Marquette fans’ hearts for a long time. Dexter Akanno’s transfer to Oregon State is what opened up the uni for Prosper to grab it instead of the #10 he wore at Clemson.
Tyler Kolek — #22
Nothing against Kolek, but if he ends up as the obvious best player to ever wear #22 for Marquette, we’re all going to be very excited about how the next three seasons go. Jim Chones established the baseline for “best guy to wear it” from 1970 through 1972, and Lloyd Walton did his best to try to live up to the standard from 1973-76. Brian Wardle took a swing at it from 1997-01, but it wasn’t until Jerel McNeal pulled it on between 2005 and 2009 that Chones had a real contender. McNeal ended up breaking George Thompson’s 40 year old all-time scoring record in 2009, and considering that freshmen were allowed to play starting just four years after Thompson set the three-year record, that’s saying something. McNeal has since been surpassed in scoring by Markus Howard, but none of the five Golden Eagles who wore #22 since have come close to landing amongst the legends who came before them. Shouts to Trent Lockett, though.
David Joplin — #23
Bob Walczak was the first ever #23 for Marquette back in 1955, and Jim Boylan wore it on the 1977 championship team. Still, I think the first MU guy to make a major impact with the number was Michael Wilson from 1978-81 as he set MU’s all-time steals record with 272 in his career, although he wore #10 as a senior. Wilson held the title as the best #23 until Wesley Matthews took it from him in 2005-09, although I suppose you could make an argument that Matthews’ NBA career makes it look more like he has the title than Wesley’s time at Marquette actually does. In any case, the six year run of Matthews followed by Dwight Buycks as #23 on the roster is definitely the high point of the number. It’s been actively in use at Marquette since Jake Thomas picked it up in 2014, as he was followed by Jajuan Johnson for three years and then four years of Jamal Cain.
Kur Kuath — #35
Since Kuath is a COVID-bonus year senior, he has pretty much no chance of knocking off Damon Key (1990-94) as the best Marquette player to ever wear the number. Kuath might have a pretty good year for the Golden Eagles, especially as MU looks like they’ll need big minutes from him in the middle, but he’s not outdueling a guy who is #13 all-time in scoring and #11 all-time in rebounding in just one season.
Still, Kuath gets credit for being the first guy to wear the number since Marcus Jackson had it in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. It’s a pretty short history of #35’s in MU history with Eric Schnepp being the first in 1950-52 and only nine guys having worn it after him.
Keeyan Itejere — #40
The first thing to remember about the #40 is that Luke Fischer is not the most recent Marquette player to pull it on. That honor goes to Tommy Gardiner, who had it in each of the last three seasons. Fischer (2014-17) was the first #40 since Mike Kinsella had in from 2004 through 2007 which ended an eight year run of occupation on the roster.
Richard Peterson was MU’s first ever #40 back in 1947, and Jim Dudley was wearing it in 1977 when MU won the NCAA championship. The first name that I immediately recognize in the list of 14 gents who have worn #40 for Marquette is Faisal Abraham, and we can’t wrap this up without mentioning Noted Final Four Team Guy Terry Sanders, too. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the door is open for Itejere to turn into the best #40 in Marquette history, although Fischer’s 1,014 points and 507 rebounds in just 2.5 seasons is a pretty strong candidate.