Note: These rankings are strictly my opinion.
Note: Players for whom a number is retired are automatically ranked as the best.
*= Jersey is Retired for This Player
To take a break from writing about the current state of the Wake Forest basketball program, I decided to rank the greatest players to ever wear each jersey number for Wake Forest.
A player who only played one or two years is at a disadvantage against someone who played all four years and had more of a chance to make an impact on Wake Forest. So for instance, Justin Gray beats out Al-Farouq Aminu for the number 1 because he played all four years and in my mind had more of an impact than Aminu. I realize many will not like this policy, but you can feel free to disagree in the comments.
Without further ado, here’s the list.
#0: Jeff Teague
Runner-Up: Codi Miller-McIntyre
This number has only been used since 2002-03, and Chris Ellis was the first to wear it. I’ve already broken my policy listed above. Teague only played two years before leaving for the NBA, but he had a huge impact on the program. He made the All-ACC Second Team his sophomore year, made the All-ACC Freshman Team, was a two-time ACC Player of the Week, a 4-time ACC Rookie of the Week, and was an Honorable Mention All-American his sophomore season.
#1: Justin Gray
Runner-Up: Al-Farouq Aminu
The number 1 was also not used until the 2002-03 season, so Gray was the first to don it. Gray is in the top 10 on the Wake Forest all-time scoring list, and was one of the best three-point shooters ever to play for the Deacs. He made First Team All-ACC in 2004, Second Team All-ACC in 2005 and 2006, made the All-ACC Freshman Team, and was a four-time ACC Player of the Week.
#2: Devin Thomas
Runner-Up: Gary Clark
Another number that has only been used 2002-03, Thomas was by far the best to don the number. He was Honorable Mention All-ACC in 2016, ACC Rookie of the Week once, and finished his Wake Forest career in the top 20 in career points and rebounds.
#3*: Chris Paul
Runner-Up: Broderick Hicks
Paul’s number 3 is in the rafters, so there is no contest here.
#4: Robert O’Kelley
Runner-Up: Taron Downey
O’Kelley was one of the most prolific scorers and shooters in Wake Forest history. He made Second Team All-ACC in 1999, the All-ACC Freshman Team in 1998, was a two-time ACC Player of the Week in 1999, and was a four-time ACC Rookie of the Week in 1998.
#5*: Josh Howard
Runner-Up: Steven Goolsby
Number 5 is forever in the rafters in honor of Josh Howard.
#10: Ishmael Smith
Runner-Up: Jamaal Levy
Smith was one of the best point guards ever to play for Wake. He wasn't a great shooter, but still scored over 1000 career points, had over 600 assists, and over 150 steals in his Wake Forest career. Ish made Second Team All-ACC in 2010, was ACC Player of the Week in 2010, and was ACC Rookie of the Week in 2007.
#11: C.J. Harris
Runner-Up: Jerry Montgomery
C.J. Harris led Wake Forest through three of its worst years of basketball, and finished in the top 20 in career points and assists. Harris was Third Team All-ACC in 2012, Honorable Mention All-ACC in 2013, on the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2010, ACC Player of the Week in 2013, and a four-time ACC Rookie of the Week in 2010. Harris was also on the ACC All-Academic Team in 2010. Harris also holds the ACC record for single-game three-point makes without a miss.
#12*: Charlie Davis
Runner-Up: Dave Budd
Davis’ jersey hangs in the rafters at LJVM.
#13: Bryant Crawford
Runner Up: Vytas Danelius/Chas McFarland
I couldn't decide between Danelius and McFarland for runner-up. Crawford had three pretty good seasons, but just couldn't get it done as he clashed with coach Danny Manning. He was Honorable Mention All-ACC in 2018, made the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2016, and was ACC Rookie of the Week in 2016.
#14*: Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues
Runner-Up: Frank Johnson
Possibly the greatest Deacon point guard ever, Muggsy’s #14 hangs in the rafters at LJVM.
#15*: Skip Brown
Runner-Up: Delaney Rudd
No one has ever come close to Brown’s greatness in the #15, as it is also in the rafters.
#20: John Collins
Runner-Up: Danny Young
Collins had one of the best jumps between seasons in Wake Forest history, and was probably the lone reason Wake made the First Four of the NCAA Tournament in 2017. John was runner-up for ACC Player of the Year in 2017, First Team All-ACC in 2017, ACC Player of the Week twice in 2017, and was named an All-American by some outlets in 2017.
#21*: Tim Duncan
Duncan is the GOAT. No one else comes anywhere close to his dominance, so there is no runner-up for #21.
#22*: Randolph Childress
No one else has come anywhere close to the numbers Childress put up, or really put up any numbers of note in jersey #22.
#23: James Johnson
Runner-Up: Chaundee Brown
James Johnson was a force for the Deacons in the paint, and had many a thunderous dunk on the opposing team. He was Third Team All-ACC in both 2008 and 2009, a member of the All-ACC Freshman Team in 2008, and ACC Rookie of the Week in 2008.
#24*: Dickie Hemric
Hemric was the only Wake Forest player ever to wear #24, as he was a once-in-a-generation talent. He held the ACC Scoring Record for over 50 years without a three-point shot.
#25: Darius Songaila
Runner-Up: Jerry Schellenberg
Songaila is probably one of the best four-year big men to not have his jersey retired. He was Second Team All-ACC in 2000 and 2002, on the ACC All-Freshman Team in 1999, Academic All-ACC in 2001 and 2002, ACC Player of the Week in 2000 and 2002, and ACC Rookie of the Week twice in 1999. Songaila is also in the top 20 in career scoring and in the top 10 in career rebounds.
#30: Travis McKie
Runner-Up: Tony Rutland
Travis McKie had the misfortune of spending all four of his years under Jeff Bzdelik. But in spite of that he had a very solid career, finishing in the top 20 all-time in career scoring and rebounding, and also broke Tim Duncan’s record for career starts. He was Honorable Mention All-ACC in 2012 and 2013, on the All-ACC Freshman Team in 2011, ACC Player of the Week in 2014, and ACC Rookie of the Week three times in 2011.
#31: “BIG E” Eric Williams
Runner-Up: Anthony Tucker
Big E is in the top 15 in career points and top 10 in career rebounds, and was a force to be reckoned with in the paint for the Deacs. He was Second Team All-ACC in 2005, Third Team All-ACC in 2006, and ACC Player of the Week in 2004 and 2005.
#32*: Rod Griffin
No one has any stats of note to compare to Griffin’s dominance in the paint in the 1970s.
#33: Trent Strickland
Runner-Up: Dickie Walker
T-Strick was the first true high-flier and rim-rattler I remember Wake Forest having (I wasn't alive for Rodney Rogers). His dunks had fans on their feet all night long, and he was a nightmare for Mike Krzyzewski every time Duke came to town. Strickland was ACC Player of the Week once in 2006.
#34: Antwan Scott
Runner-Up: Travis “Scooter” Banks
Scott was part of the trio of big men at the turn of the century with Darius Songaila and Rafael Vidaurreta. He never made an All-ACC team, but was a very solid contributor for Dave Odom and Skip Prosser.
#35: Billy Packer
Runner-Up: Guy Morgan
While Billy Packer is more known for his broadcasting career than his basketball, he was quite the guard on Bones McKinney’s teams. He played alongside of Len Chappell and Dave Budd, and was Second Team All-ACC in 1960 and First Team All-ACC in 1961.
#40: Sam Ivy
Runner-Up: Trelonnie Owens
Sam Ivy finished his Wake Forest career with over 1500 points and almost 700 rebounds. He was Second Team All-ACC in 1988 and ACC Rookie of the Week three times in 1987.
#41: Rafael Vidaurreta
Runner-Up: Wilbert Singleton
Vidaurreta did all the dirty work down low for the Deacs in the late 90s and early 2000s. Rafa never made an All-ACC team, but was a key cog in the Deacs’ NIT Championship run in 2000.
#42: L.D. Williams
Runner-Up: Craig Dawson
LD Williams almost brought the Joel Coliseum to the ground with some of his thunderous dunks, and never met a rim or opposing player he wouldn't try to dunk on. LD also made the All-ACC Defensive First Team in 2009 and 2010, and made his reputation known around the league as a lockdown defender and powerful dunker.
#43: Dr. Richard Carmichael
Runner-Up: Charlie Floyd
Richard Carmichael played just after Len Chappell’s time at Wake Forest, and is perhaps better known as a professor than a basketball player. He did score over 500 points in his career though. There simply haven't been that many standout players to wear the number 43.
#44: Chris King
Runner-Up: Ricardo “Ricky” Peral
Not only was King a great player, scoring over 1700 points in his career, he also discovered Tim Duncan in a way and notified Dave Odom that he needed to check him out in the Virgin Islands. King was also ACC Rookie of the Week twice in 1989.
#45: Arnaud William Adala Moto
Runner-Up: Phil Medlin
Adala Moto transferred after two years when Jeff Bzdelik wasn't retained as head coach in 2014, but he was a very solid contributor during his two years.
#50*: Len Chappell
The greatest three-year player ever, as he played when freshmen weren't allowed on the varsity team. No contest here.
#51: Stan King
Runner-Up: Grant O’Brien
Wake Forest hasn't had a strong #51. Stan King barely edges Grant O’Brien for this number.
#52: Larry Harrison
Runner-Up: Bobby Hoekstra
Harrison was a role player on Carl Tacy’s teams in the late 70s.
#53: Al Koehler
Runner-Up: Craig Wessel
Wake Forest hasn't had a strong #53. Al Koehler played in the 60s and had just over 50 career points.
#54*: Rodney Rogers
Runner-Up: Jim Johnstone
Rodney was one of the greatest Deacs ever, and the original player to nearly bring the house down in the Joel. His #54 is forever enshrined in the rafters at the Joel.
#55: Anthony Teachey
Runner-Up: Kyle Visser
Teachey was a Second-Team All-ACC selection in 1984 and ACC Player of the Week in 1984. He was one of the best Wake Forest players of the early 80s.
Wake Forest has had some great players, spread out across many jersey numbers.
What do you all think of my list? Who do you think was left off?