The Numbers Game: Rams share the stories behind their jersey numbers

Photo Illustration by Ryan Rich. Photos by Erin Edgerton and Jon Mirador

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

Some jersey numbers honor a family member, while others pay tribute to the wearer’s favorite player. But each Men’s Basketball player has his own story.

The most commonly worn jersey numbers in the 51-year history of the program are No. 12 and No. 22, both sported by 16 players. The least-used jersey number is No. 43, which was worn by only two players.

No. 0 De’Riante Jenkins

“Growing up as a kid, you’re always trying to blame stuff on other people like, ‘this person did this or this person had a bad grade on a test.’ My dad always told me there’s no excuses, you gotta find a way. Since I got here, it got me through that. It keeps me grounded knowing that I control what I can control.

I come from a small town, and another part of it is no one ever made Division I basketball. So I’m the first. Before this it was zero, so it all keeps me grounded. A lot of dudes in South Carolina has been wearing zero. Every year, somebody has been wearing zero in college basketball. So I’m just trying to be somebody to keep it going.

It always used to be 11, 15 or five since I was a little kid — those were the numbers that followed me. Then, my dad died before I got to college. And when I came on my visit, it all came in my head, and I was like ‘yeah, I’m going to wear No. 0.’”

No. 1 Mike’l Simms

“I chose one because I couldn’t have five — Sean [Mobley] took five. Five was my favorite number ever. When I first started playing, I had the No. 5, so I’ve been trying to wear it ever since. But when I committed here, [Mobley] had taken five so I had to go with one. I try to resemble Tracy McGrady.”

No. 2 Marcus Evans

“When I first got to Rice, one of my friends, Quez, called me [Deuce] and that’s where the ‘Deuce’ came from … I knew Briante [Weber] for two too. So it’s like that a little bit, but there’s no main reason for wearing it.”

No. 4 Corey Douglas

“My dad wore it in college, and it was my senior year number in high school.”

No. 5 Sean Mobley

“It was just a new number. I really wanted a single digit number because I’ve never had a single digit number. It was a fresh start.”

No. 10 Vince Williams

“I used to wear [No. 10] back in my fifth and sixth grade tournaments, so I just like it. I used to wear five in [Amateur Athletic Union] last year. It looked good on me — at least in AAU it did.”

No. 11 KeShawn Curry

“No, not really. [In high school I wore] two because Kyrie [Irving] is two. I always wear his shoes, so I was like why not. I picked 11 once I got here when [Issac Vann] decided to get 23, so I was like I’ll get 11 … Kyrie’s got 11.”

No. 12 Dylan Sheehy-Guiseppi

“It was given to me, nothing in particular. A lot of great players have worn 12. It’s a great number to follow under. They gave me 12, so I stuck with it.”

No. 13 Malik Crowfield

“I’ve worn 13 since I was a little kid. When I first started playing basketball it was my favorite number. Then I started wearing it throughout my high school career and then in my college years.”

No. 14 Marcus Santos-Silva

“I thought I was going to be able to get seven. But then I realized they don’t do seven here, and everything with seven revolves around me. I was born June 7, 1997, and that was just my favorite number. So then I picked 14 because seven plus seven is 14.”

No. 15 Xavier Jackson

“I picked a random number. Some people are superstitious and [stuff] like that, but I don’t have anything like that. They gave me a couple of options, and that was the best option out of the numbers they gave me.”

No. 22 Michael Gilmore

“In my eighth grade year, a guy went to high school at Arlington Hutcher Day, where I went to school at, named Rodney McGruder. He was one of the guys I really connected with on the Varsity team and he wore 22. All throughout my high school years I looked up to him. He left after his senior year, and I had the opportunity to wear 22. I wore it the rest of my high school career. My freshman year at VCU, Terry Larrier actually ended up getting the No. 22, so I stuck with 11. Upon my return [to VCU], 22 was available so I took it. Just a little homage to Rodney and it’s something that I really identify and associate myself with.”

No. 23 Issac Vann

“One of my favorite players is Michael Jordan, so I’ve been wearing it since about high school. I changed it when I first got here because [Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed] had it, but once he left I seen the opportunity to go back to it. I think it’s one of my luckiest numbers. So, I mean, I stick with it.”

No. 24 P.J. Byrd

“I’ve been 23 all my life, but since I got here [Issac Vann] wanted to change his number from 11 to 23. So I was like, ‘okay I’ll take 24,’ because I was always a Kobe [Bryant] fan growing up. It was the next best thing.”

No. 5 Mike Rhoades (Lebanon Valley College)

“It was my Little League number. The first number I ever had on a team was my little league baseball number, five. In high school, I was 35 because that was my brother’s football number. When I got to college, coach [Pat] Flannery said ‘you can’t wear 35, that’s not a point guard’s number.’ So that was when single digits started getting popular, so I picked five. Now it’s in the rafters at Lebanon Valley — No. 5.”

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