Virginia Basketball freshmen arrive on Grounds, decide their numbers

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As the Virginia men’s basketball team reconvenes in Charlottesville for summer workouts, three newcomers have chosen their new jersey numbers, according to the team’s official website.

6-foot-7 forward Francesco Badocchi, who signed with the Cavaliers in May in the wake of Marial ShayokJarred Reuter, and Darius Thompson transferring from the program, will wear No. 1. 6-foot-6 guard Marco Anthony goes with No. 24. 6-foot-6 walk-on forward Austin Katstra, son of Virginia Athletics Foundation Executive Director Dirk Katstra and a third-generation Wahoo, picked No. 45.

Some history on each of the numbers…

No. 1: Jontel Evans wore it for all of his four years in Charlottesville. He averaged a team-high 4.8 assists in his senior year of 2012-13, including 5.3 per game in league play – good enough for second in the conference.

Justin Anderson wore it for his second and third years, when he averaged 9.6 points per game in those two years. He was the best three-point shooter on the 2014-15 team, making three more from long range than his nearest competition (47 to Malcolm Brogdon’s 44), despite having played in eight fewer games due to a finger injury and appendicitis. If not for those two impairments, that team could have gone much farther than the ACC tournament semifinals and second round of the NCAA tournament. This writer contends that their only loss the entire year would have been the Duke game that happened a week before Anderson’s injury. He left after his third year to enter the NBA draft, and he currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Heralded transfer big man Austin Nichols wore it for a grand total of one game last season, scoring a game-high 11 points in a 40-point rout of St. Francis Brooklyn. Three days later, he was dismissed from the program by head coach Tony Bennett.

No. 24: Richard Katstra, father of Dirk and grandfather of Austin, wore it in the early-mid 60s. Dirk followed in his footsteps from 1987-81.

Jeff Jones, point guard of the teams that won the NIT in 1980 and went to the program’s first Final Four in 1981, wore it from 1978-82. After graduating, he was an assistant coach under Terry Holland from 1982 until 1990, when he was named head coach. While at the helm from 1990-98, he guided the team to two Sweet 16s and the 1995 Elite Eight.

Olden Polynice averaged 16 points and eight rebounds a game as a third-year in 1985-86. He was expected to be perhaps the best player on one of the best teams in the country his fourth year, before being removed from the team in the summer of 1986 after stealing a $17 pair of headphones.

No. 45: Mainly, this one has belonged to notable role players like Mike Owens (1976-80) and Tim Mullen (1981-85). Percy Ellsworth, a four-time letter winner in football and the first defensive back in UVa history to be named a first-team All-American, wore the number when he played in 1994-95.

The other incoming player on this year’s team, Rutgers graduate transfer Nigel Johnson, isn’t officially on the roster yet, but wore a No. 23 jersey in the Instagram post announcing his commitment. Mike Scott wore it in his third and fourth years, as did Justin Anderson and London Perrantes in their respective first years.

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