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Story behind the number: a look at the 10 North Texas basketball starters

Story behind the number: a look at the 10 North Texas basketball starters

DENTON TEXAS, January 6: University of North Texas Mean Green Men’s Basketball v Old Dominion University at the Super Pit in Denton on January 6, 2018 (Photo Rick Yeatts Photography/Colin Mitchell)

Story behind the number: a look at the 10 North Texas basketball starters
January 17
14:12 2018

Numbers are the first thing people see when they watch sports at any level. Novices unfamiliar with a player’s name or appearance will immediately say the player’s number as their reference because it is the easiest way to identify an athlete on the court or field. 

Therefore, a number can mean a lot to a player. It is their one chance to be unique from their teammates aside from their name. 

The men and women on the North Texas basketball teams all have their own reasons for the numbers they don on game days, and the starters described the story behind their numbers.

Women’s basketball

Brittany Smith, junior point guard

Number 3

Smith wanted number 23 when she got to Denton, but junior Terriell Bradley has had that number since last season.

“TB has 23 so [3] is just the number closest to my original number,” Smith said. “My sister was 23, and it just so happened that I liked Michael Jordan and LeBron James.”

Terriell Bradley, junior guard

Number 23

Here’s the funny part: Bradley wants to be number 3, and Smith wants to be number 23, but they didn’t know that until asked about their number selection this week. 

The reason Bradley originally started wearing number 23 is because all the other seven-year-olds on her first basketball team took the other numbers, so she was forced to wear the most famous number in all of basketball.

“I played my first organized basketball, and that was the only number left in my size,” Bradley said. “I wanted my number to be number 3 when I was seven, but 23 was the only number left, so I just stuck with that number.”

Freshman Guard Lauren Holmes awaits a pass being made by opponent SMU. Madison Gore

Lauren Holmes, freshman guard

Number 33

Holmes wore 33 all of her basketball life including her years at Fayetteville High School in Arkansas. Similar to Bradley, she chose the number at a young age, not for a specific reason.

“I didn’t really have a reason [at first], but now I guess you could say it’s because I like shooting 3-pointers,” Holmes said. “Ever since I started basketball I was 33. I just picked it.”

Grace Goodhart, junior guard

Number 2

Goodhart has started most of the games in Conference USA play so far and has more of an attachment to her number than most of her teammates. Her brother shares the number 2 with her on the football field.  

“It’s a family number and my brother wears it,” Goodhart said. “Both of us like the number, and he plays football at Princeton.”

Micayla Buckner, junior post

Number 34

Buckner had a sentimental moment when she got the number 34, and it was a cool moment for all of her family at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas.

“My sister was 34 in high school,” Buckner said. “And when I was an incoming freshman she had just graduated, so she passed down her number to me at the high school banquet, and I just kept it throughout my high school and college career.”

Men’s basketball

Ryan Woolridge, sophomore point guard

Number 0

Another example of a player not getting the number originally desired — Woolridge came in last year wanting number 3, but once he found out it was taken, he quickly thought of his favorite NBA players.

“I had been number 3 all my life,” Woolridge said. “Once I got here, JaMichael Brown had number 3, so I chose zero because at the time I was watching [Russell] Westbrook and Damian Lillard.”

Roosevelt Smart, sophomore guard

Number 3

Number 3 was Smart’s fourth option when it came to preferred numbers, with the other three being taken by his teammates who were already on the team last year. The always optimistic Smart has already found a silver lining in it, though.

“I couldn’t get five because Allante had it, couldn’t get zero because Ryan had it, and A.J. was one,” Smart said with a laugh. “I played AAU with number 3, and I guess it brought me back. Then when I hit a 3-pointer I can put up a three sign, and it’s my jersey number too.”

A.J. Lawson, sophomore guard

Number 1

While a lot of players look to carry on numbers from their siblings or parents, Lawson went a different route after his freshman season. Number 12 was his family’s number which he wore as a freshman at North Texas and during high school. But entering his sophomore season, he wanted to start on his own trail with a new number.

“In high school I started to get out of the shadows of my family members,” Lawson said. “When I went to number one in high school, it was me being different and being myself. Last year I wore [number 12] for [my father] and my grandparents, so transitioning to one is me finding my identity again.”

Shane Temara, senior forward

Number 50

Temara comes from an athletic family. His mom once had a triple-double against Georgetown in 1984 when she played for Syracuse. Wanting to carry on the tradition and perhaps strive to be as good as her, Temara chose the number 50 when he got to North Texas.

“When my mom was back in college, at Syracuse, she was number 50,” Temara said. “I went DI, so I have to wear number 50.”

Mean Green Forward Zachary Simmons attempts a dunk against opponent Bethune-Cookman on November 16. Madison Gore

Zachary Simmons, freshman forward

Number 24

Simmons, a lifelong fan of the Diesel, calls Shaquille O’Neal, “the best big man to ever play the game,” so number 32 was his initial choice as a kid. Once he got to high school, though, he changed to 24, but not because of Kobe Bryant.

“I had always been 32 because I was a big Shaq fan,” Simmons said. “But when I moved to Cedar Hill [High School], I had limited options, so I chose 24, and I just didn’t feel like changing it.”

Featured image: University of North Texas Mean Green Men’s Basketball v Old Dominion University at the Super Pit in Denton on January 6, 2018 (Photo Rick Yeatts Photography/Colin Mitchell)

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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