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OPINION | WALLY HALL: It’s time to retire more Razorback jerseys

by Wally Hall | May 15, 2022 at 2:33 a.m.

As the Arkansas Razorbacks progress, it wouldn't be surprising to hear some talk about another change, one that would honor former athletes.

Like not playing in-state schools, not retiring numbers has been a long-standing policy.

Most schools don't retire numbers anymore, but they do retire players' jerseys.

Arkansas started playing football in 1894 and only two players numbers have been retired, Clyde "Smackover" Scott and Brandon Burlsworth.

Basketball will celebrate its centennial season in two years -- and the way things are going with Eric Musselman, that season could be one of the best -- and only Sidney Moncrief has been honored with a retired number.

The number of football players who should be honored in mind boggling.

Since 1948, the Razorbacks have had 21 consensus All-Americans, and only Scott has been honored with a retired jersey.

Since there have been so many great football players for so long, let's just take a glimpse at basketball to make the argument for retiring a player's jersey.

The Razorbacks had their first basketball All-American in 1928 with Glen Rose.

Basketball was a secondary sport at Arkansas, but there were a few standouts like Tommy Boyer in 1963 and Martin Terry a decade later. But it all started to change for the better when Eddie Sutton was hired in 1974.

Nolan Richardson kept it going and now Musselman has returned the Hogs to national prominence.

A winning program needs a good coach, but it has to have good players and in 1977 Sidney Moncrief and Ron Brewer made All-America teams.

The opinion here is add Marvin Delph, and there should be a jersey hanging in Bud Walton with their names under "The Triplets."

Sutton and Richardson shared many ideas and philosophies about basketball, and both believed in great guard play.

It would take several days and several columns to debate which was the best guard tandem in Razorback history. But when you start talking about retiring jerseys, those who have been around a while would vote for Darrell Walker and Alvin Robertson.

In the middle of those teams was Joe Kleine. All three had long prosperous NBA careers, as did Scott Hastings, Sutton's first big man to be named All-American.

When Walker and Robertson weren't stealing the ball from opponents, they were dunking it in their faces.

Ron Huery cracked the door for Richardson's success and May-Day, Lee Mayberry and Todd Day, slammed it open.

From 1990 through 1996, no one wanted to play the Razorbacks.

Corey Beck and Clint McDaniel were pickpockets in sneakers and few, if any, could out-run them for a loose ball or with a stolen ball.

They had Corliss Williamson and Scotty Thurman and that team went 31-3 in 1993-94 and won the national championship.

No, Joe Johnson isn't being forgotten. He only played 1 1/2 seasons before going to the NBA, where he spent the next 20 years.

Of course, Bobby Portis should have his jersey retired someday. Right now he's playing for the defending world champion Milwaukee Bucks.

There's more, many more, too many to name them all, and not all great Razorbacks were named All-American.

Under Musselman, the basketball program has become unified.

All of the previous coaches and the Razorbacks belong to everyone.

Again, this is not to say a jersey number should be retired. Kentucky retires jerseys and a lot of them.

It just seems the time and climate are right to consider retiring the numbers from all the sports, regardless of gender.

All of them earned it.

Print Headline: It’s time to retire more Razorback jerseys


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