UVA Basketball: Sean Singletary's Number To Be Retired

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IJanuary 30, 2009

Watching UVA basketball nowadays, it is pretty clear just how much the Cavaliers miss their former point guard Sean Singletary.

When the current Charlotte Bobcat stormed into the arena to start the North Carolina game earlier this year the place erupted in celebration at the return of the prodigal son. 

Of course, the John Paul Jones Arena quickly turned from madhouse to library after a 13-0 run by North Carolina to open the game, but that's another story.

Well, Virginia found a way for fans to forget about their team's current troubles and get people to come en masse next week. Today, it was announced that Singletary's number will be retired.

This is nothing new to Singletary. Last year on senior night, he had his "jersey" retired in front of a near sellout crowd against Maryland. He then went on to score his 2,000th point in a big victory over the Terrapins.

The difference between these two distinctions is that after the upcoming ceremony no other Virginia player can don the number "44."

A belated honor, but one certainly deserving of a consummate star.

Singletary's numbers are just plain spectacular, no matter which you choose. 

The Philadelphia point guard rewrote the school record books, finishing second in steals, third in assists and three-point field goals, fourth in made free throws, fifth in scoring, and ninth in made field goals for his career.

He was a third-team All-American in 2007, the first time any UVA player had made the All-American team since Ralph Sampson in 1983.

Most importantly, Singletary was an incredibly clutch player. He had that mental fortitude to play his best when it mattered most. He did not shy away from the spotlight; he welcomed it.

Singletary hit some huge shots in his career, most notably the shot in overtime against Duke but he also had a huge offensive rebound in a 16-point comeback against Clemson, a key assist last year towards the game-winner at Georgia Tech, and a steal against Old Dominion in the CBI tournament.

In other words, he was a complete player. 

He was also particularly solid at the free throw line, shooting well over 85 percent for his career and helped salt away many games when Virginia desperately needed a win.

It is sad that Singletary's career is mired by his team's ability to only reach one NCAA tournament during his four years but, much like Tyrese Rice, his numbers are even more impressive when you consider teams did all they could to shut him down.

With a lack of consistent scoring options, Singletary had to put the team on his back and he always did so without complaint.  Even in the darkest hours, he remained confident and optimistic about his team's prospects. 

His will and determination helped bring Virginia basketball out of the gutter in 2007.  After being predicted to finish near the end of the pack in the preseason rankings, Virginia finished in a tie for first at 11-5 in the ACC. 

It is only fitting that he becomes the seventh player to have his number in the rafters of the building in which he provided so much drama and excitement.

My only disappointment is that the other part of the dynamic duo, J.R. Reynolds, cannot gain a similar distinction. Maybe Reynolds did not have the numbers of Singletary, but their success was inextricably linked to one another.

While both were talented All-ACC caliber players, together they were one of the best back courts in Virginia history.

Reynolds underwent a tremendous amount of growth and progress in his junior and senior year and if he had not rolled an ankle against Tennessee in the second round of the 2007 NCAA tournament, the Cavaliers could have gone to their first Sweet Sixteen since 1995.

So here's to you Sean and J.R., Virginia misses you...But maybe not as much as your now embattled coach.