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UConn men’s basketball unveils newcomers’ jersey numbers

With a large crop of new players coming in, the Huskies will have plenty of fresh jersey numbers next season.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s basketball will have many new faces next season with four players joining the program — freshmen Javonte Brown-Ferguson, Andre Jackson and Adama Sanogo and URI transfer Tyrese Martin. The Huskies will also have two players finally eligible to play in Howard transfer RJ Cole and Richie Springs, who redshirted his first year in Storrs for academic reasons.

With all that change comes a host of new jersey numbers, which the team announced on Wednesday. Along with all the newcomers, Akok Akok switched up his digits as well.

As a reminder, the NCAA only allows digits 0-5, so the pool of available numbers is limited.

* - Indicates a player wore multiple numbers in their career

RJ Cole - No. 1

Total players to wear it: 4
Most recent and most notable: Christian Vital (2016-20)

Cole initially picked No. 4 when he first came to UConn but that was likely only a placeholder until Vital graduated. Though he previously wore No. 2 at Howard, that number remains occupied by James Bouknight. Surprisingly, No. 1 hasn’t been worn much with Marcus Johnson the first to don it in 2006.

UConn's Christian Vital (1) calls out a play during the Monmouth Hawks vs UConn Huskies men's college basketball game at the XL Center in Hartford, CT on December 2, 2017.
UConn’s Christian Vital (1) calls out a play during the Monmouth Hawks vs UConn Huskies men’s college basketball game at the XL Center in Hartford, CT on December 2, 2017.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Tyrese Martin - No. 4

Total players: 11
Most recent: Jalen Adams (2017-19)*
Notables: Ben Gordon (2001-2004), Jeff Adrien (2005-2009)

Martin carries over the same number he had at URI with hopes of being the next in a recent line of quality guards to wear No. 4 with Adams and Sterling Gibbs before him. Surprisingly, No. 4 was only worn twice prior to 2000 in the Calhoun Era but has been selected seven times since then.

NCAA Photos Archive

Akok Akok - No. 11

Total players: 11
Most recent: Kwintin Williams (2017-18)*
Notables: Doron Scheffer (1993-96), Hilton Armstrong (2002-06), Jerome Dyson (2006-2010), Ryan Boatright (2011-15)

Prior to the disaster of Williams, No. 11 had a strong run from Scheffer to Armstrong to Dyson and Boatright. Akok initially took the number when he joined the Huskies midseason two years ago but never actually wore it since he redshirted the rest of the campaign. Last year, he wore No. 23 but is now back to No. 11. He previously wore the sticks at Putnam Science Academy.

St. Johns v UCONN Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Richie Springs - No. 13

Total players: 11
Most recent: Steve Enoch (2015-17)
Notables: Worthy Patterson (1951-1954), Chris Smith (1988-1992), Shabazz Napier (2010-2014)

Springs picked lucky (or unlucky) number 13 when he came to UConn and wore it at First Night this past season. While it has a long history dating back to 1946 with 11 different players wearing it, Patterson, Smith and Napier are the only ones who made a noticeable impact. Springs also wore No. 13 at the MacDuffie School.

NCAA Men’s Final Four - Championship Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Adama Sanogo - No. 21

Total players: 21
Most recent: Mamadou Diarra (2016-19)
Notables: Ricky Moore (1995-99), Josh Boone (2003-06), Stanley Robinson (2006-2010), Omar Calhoun (2012-16)

A good number for forwards at UConn, the newest addition to the Huskies should be a natural fit to his new jersey number. While Sanogo previously preferred No. 13, those digits are taken up by Springs.

Connecticut Huskies v Georgetown Hoyas Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Javonte Brown-Ferguson - No. 31

Total players: 20
Most recent: Mike Noyes (2015-18)
Notables: Rashad Anderson (2002-06)

Outside of Anderson, No. 31 has consistently been worn by players with unremarkable careers. In fact, Anderson is the only player ever to play all four years at UConn. Brown-Ferguson will look to buck the former trend but if all goes to plan, he hopefully won’t need four seasons in Storrs before heading off to greener pastures.

Ford takes jumpshot Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Andre Jackson - No. 44

Total players: 18
Most recent: Rodney Purvis (2014-2016)
Notables: Wes Bialosuknia (1964-1967)

First made famous by the Poughkeepsie Popper back in the 1960s, No. 44 has seen a lot of action over the years but has only been worn three times in the 21st century by Johnnie Selvie, John Linder (for one season) and Purvis. While one of Jackson’s previous numbers — 5 — was taken by Isaiah Whaley, he’s also worn No. 22, which is open.

Rodney Purvis was fired up Thursday night at Gampel Pavilion.
Rodney Purvis was fired up Thursday night at Gampel Pavilion.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports