WKU to retire Courtney Lee's jersey

Posted on January 9, 2015 9:31 PM

WKU Hilltopper Basketball great and current NBA star Courtney Lee will have his No. 32 jersey retired at the Hilltoppers’ game against UTEP on Thursday, Jan. 22.

Lee, WKU’s all-time leading scorer, will become the 10th person affiliated with WKU men's basketball to have his jersey retired, joining E.A. Diddle, Clem Haskins, Tom Marshall, Jim McDaniels, John Oldham, Carlisle Towery, Bobby Rascoe, Darel Carrier and longtime radio play-by-play voice Wes Strader in the row of ceremonial jerseys hanging in the rafters of E.A. Diddle Arena.

Olmstead High School graduate Lillie Mason is one of the few women to have had her jersey retired at Diddle Arena.

“We are honored to have Hilltopper legend Courtney Lee return to Diddle Arena for the much-deserved retirement of his jersey,” WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said. “Courtney is an outstanding person and player whose presence enhanced our program and university and brought significant notoriety to each. While earning his degree, Courtney’s historic individual accomplishments on the court also resulted in equally significant team achievements. This will be a great night, and we look forward to having Courtney and his family return to Diddle Arena for this special occasion.”

“I am truly honored,” Lee said. “I enjoyed my time on The Hill and am grateful to have played in front of the fans in Bowling Green. I thank my teammates and the entire coaching staff, my academic advisor Ms. Dixie (Mahurin) and Danny Rumph and the Rumph family for helping to guide me in becoming the man I am today. I would also like to give credit to Jim Clark, President (Gary) Ransdell and Travis Hudson and everyone else that was a part of helping me reach this goal. This is a true blessing for my family and me.”

Tickets for the Jan. 22 game against UTEP, as well as the remaining home games on WKU’s 2014-15 schedule, can be purchased online at WKUSports.com or via the WKU Ticket Office in-person at E.A. Diddle Arena or over the phone at 1-800-5-BIG RED or 745-5222 locally.

 Lee finished his WKU career with 2,238 career points, equaling McDaniels for the most in Hilltopper Basketball history. Lee’s 17.6 point-per-game scoring average for his career ranks seventh in WKU history, and he was a senior All-American on WKU’s 2007-08 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 team while playing on four 20-win teams during his career.

In addition to the career scoring record and ranking seventh in scoring average, Lee ranks in the top-7 in the WKU career record book in eight other categories, including games started (2nd; 127), minutes played (1st; 3,957), field goals (3rd; 802), three-point field goals (2nd; 245), three-point field goal percentage (6th; .401), free throws (7th; 389), free throw percentage (2nd; .8172) and steals (2nd; 242).

Lee’s career record at WKU was 96-34 (.738), and he was 53-7 (.883) at E.A. Diddle Arena, where his jersey will now permanently reside.

In 127 games as a Hilltopper, all starts, Lee scored 2,238 points, an average of 17.6 per season, and shot 46.4 percent from the field (802-1729) and 40.1 percent from three-point range (245-611). He grabbed 663 rebounds for an average of 5.2 per season, and he converted at an outstanding 81.7 percent clip from the free throw line (389-476).

His high-water mark came as a senior in 2007-08, where he helped WKU to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and a 29-7 record by averaging 20.4 points per game. His 735 total points in 2007-08 are the third-most in a single season in Hilltopper history. The Indianapolis, Ind., native debuted as a freshman in 2004-05 and immediately contributed a freshman school-record 461 points (14.9 per game), which he increased to over 17.0 per outing in both his sophomore and junior seasons.


During his WKU career, Lee was a three-time first-team All-Sun Belt Conference performer (2006-08) and the 2005 SBC Freshman of the Year. He picked up SBC Player of the Year honors after his senior season in 2007-08, and he was also named an honorable mention Associated Press All-American for his stellar final campaign. He was coached at WKU by Darrin Horn.

Lee graduated from WKU in 2008 with a degree in sociology and a minor in criminology.

Lee is in the middle of his seventh season in the NBA and currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies after suiting up for Orlando, New Jersey, Houston and Boston in previous seasons. Lee was selected with the 22nd pick of the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Magic and started for the Magic in the NBA finals in his first season in the league.

Other key players on Coach David Joerger‘s 25-10 Grizzlies are center Marc Gasol, forward Zach Randolph, and point guard Mike Conley. Reports Friday were that the Grizzlies were trading former University of Kentucky star Tayshaun Prince to the Boston Celtics for Jeff Green.

During his professional career, Lee has averaged nearly 10 points per game over 475 outings, 250 of which were starts, and shot over 45 percent from the field and almost 40 percent from three-point range.



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