An Odd Quirk About Tennessee Retiring Allan Houston’s Number

Posted by rtmsf on January 31st, 2011

News was released Monday that the University of Tennessee has decided to retire the number of one of its greatest all-time players, Allan Houston.  His #20 jersey will be raised to the rafters of Thompson-Boling Arena on March 6 during a pre-game ceremony prior to the annual home rivalry game with Kentucky.  From the years of 1989-93, Houston was a fantastic player for Tennessee, playing for his father Wade all four seasons and averaging 21.9 PPG as a four-time all-SEC performer. 

Houston Was a Fantastic Vol, But He Never Danced

Despite its institutional reputation as a football school, the Vols have extremely stringent criteria for the jersey retirement of basketball players.  They had none prior to Bruce Pearl’s arrival on campus in 2005 — Ernie Grunfield and Bernard King have since been added — but realizing the marketability aspect of honoring the program’s history, the school came up with a set of guidelines which are outlined here:

To receive this honor, a player must achieve TWO of the following:

  • First Team All-American
  • SEC Player of the Year
  • Played on an Olympic Basketball Team
  • NBA All-Star

According to Rocky Top Talk, the only former Vols who currently fit those criteria and who are not already honored are Dale Ellis and, of course, Allan Houston.  Interestingly, despite scoring over 2,800 points in his career and finishing second in the SEC to NCAA all-time scoring leader Pistol Pete Maravich (LSU), Houston was never a First Team All-American nor the SEC Player of the Year.  He meets the specifications, though, by virtue of his two NBA All-Star appearances (2000, 2001) and his membership on the 2000 Olympic gold-medal winning Team USA. 

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