ESPN's "The best player in college basketball history at every jersey number"
Thanks to the NCAA rule book, players have only 37 options when it comes to choosing a jersey number. Any single-digit rendering or double-digit combination of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 is acceptable. Conversely, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are prohibited.
Of the 37 combinations (plus a few that are no longer eligible), four Jayhawks made the list:
0 | Frank Mason III
See also: Russell Westbrook (UCLA, 2006-08); Jared Sullinger (Ohio State, 2010-12); Thomas Robinson (Kansas, 2009-12); D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State, 2014-15); Gilbert Arenas (Arizona, 1999-2001); Jayson Tatum (Duke, 2016-17); De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky, 2016-17); Jaylen Brown (California, 2015-16).
Westbrook is the biggest name in this group, but way back when the UCLA combo guard averaged nine minutes a game as a freshman and played a valuable but still supporting role alongside Kevin Love as a sophomore. Top college honors for No. 0 go instead to Mason, a first-team All-American and consensus national player of the year in 2017.
13 | Wilt Chamberlain
See also: Glenn Robinson (Purdue, 1991-94); John Wooden (Purdue, 1929-32); James Harden (Arizona State, 2007-09); Shabazz Napier (Connecticut, 2010-14); Joakim Noah (Florida, 2004-07); Deandre Ayton (Arizona, 2017-18); Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga, 2009-13).
No triskaidekaphobia here. On the contrary, No. 13 seems to attract players like Chamberlain, stars with a certain fire to their game. Wilt debuted at KU in 1956-57 playing in a rotation with five seniors. The previous season, that same veteran nucleus had gone 14-9. With Chamberlain averaging 30 points, however, the Jayhawks made it to the third overtime of the national championship game before falling to North Carolina.
16 | Clyde Lovellette
A teammate of Dean Smith’s at KU, Lovellette remains the only player ever to lead D-I in scoring (28.4 points) in the same season as winning a national title (1952).
25 | Danny Manning
See also: Penny Hardaway (Memphis, 1990-93); Juwan Howard (Michigan, 1991-94); Gail Goodrich (UCLA, 1962-65); Ben Simmons (LSU, 2015-16); Erick Dampier (Mississippi State, 1993-96); JaJuan Johnson (Purdue, 2007-11); Paul Pressey (Tulsa, 1980-82).
Kansas entered the 1988 NCAA tournament with an 18-11 record, having at one point lost five consecutive games. None of which mattered in March, as Manning put the Jayhawks on his back and averaged 27 points on KU’s run to a championship. His 31-point, 18-rebound performance with five steals against No. 1 seed Oklahoma in the title game ranks as one of the greatest efforts in national finals history.