One can’t play in a basketball game without a uniform number.
But how did these players get their numbers? Did they choose it? Were they just stuck with it? A little bit of both. The Leavenworth Times took some time to ask coaches why their players go to battle each night with that number being their main identifier each game?
These are the players that participated and their responses.
Jacob Coleman, No. 1: “One is the closest thing to two, and I wanted to bang out like, Eric Scott (BLHS alum, class of 2017).”
Dylan Mussett, No. 4: “It was my first, ever basketball number.”
Nolan Ford, No. 5: “For my sister. She tore both her ACLs and I wanted to play in her honor every night.”
AJ Quisenberry, No. 10: “Ten is Steve Nash’s number and he got a bloody nose in a game, just like I did in practice.”
Junior Tatum, No. 11: “No. 11 is Trae Young’s number and he’s my favorite point guard in the NCAA.”
Hardy Bergman, No. 14: “It was my size.”
Chase Torkleson, No. 15: “Former Basehor-Linwood High School state champion Tanner Bowers wore No. 15 and he was my first coach.”
Dean Gore, No. 22: “I was one of the last to pick a jersey.”
Kobe Stifford, No. 23: “My uncle was No. 3 and my dad was No. 2. Put them together and they make 23.”
Graham Stallbaumer, No. 25: “No. 25 was one of the last numbers to choose from.”
Connor Younger, No. 30: “Because I can light it up like Curry.”
Ethan Willinson, No. 31: “For (BLHS alum) Kurtis Tatkenhorst.”
Jace Friesen, No. 32: “It’s a number of a former player who took lots of charges.”
Zach White, No. 33: “It was Larry Bird’s number.”
Brock Hofer, No. 35: “No. 35 has been my number since third grade, so I’m going to stick with it.”
Cory Davilla, No. 45: “No. 45 was (Michael Jordan’s) favorite number.”
Lansing High boys
Peyton Vossmer, No. 10: “My cousin Colby wore this number when he played at Lansing.”
Andrew Allen, No. 25: “I didn't want a high or a low number.”
Jourdan Bridgette, No. 0: “I got to pick between two numbers.”
Konner McQuillan, No. 5: “It is my football number and my older brother wore this number too when he was at Lansing.”
Leavenworth High boys
Kevin Payne, No. 4: “I chose the smallest number available because the smaller the number, the more sauce available.”
Steele Sadler, No. 11: “One of my favorite players, Klay Thompson, wears it. I want to evolve my game like Klay.”
Julian Williams, No. 12: “I got my number because I chose it to represent that I have 12 favorite NBA players.”
Tah-Ji Pinch, No. 14: “From eighth-grade year I had it and it kinda stuck with me.”
Daniel Lentz, No. 15: “I got to choose my number as a senior and I chose 15 because that was my freshman number. I want to finish my high school career how I started it.”
Michael Sauer, No. 20: “Ray Allen is my favorite player and shooter. He is a role model to me.”
Nehemiah Griffin, No. 21: “I didn’t pick my number, but the number I have is 21 like Dominique Wilkins.”
Zach Thiel, No. 23: “LeBron (James) is my favorite player.”
Nathan Dalby, No. 32: “I got my number by picking it after the seniors got first choice. I picked it because I’ve always picked 32 and it’s stayed with me.”
Reece Williams, No. 33: “My grandpa was born in 1933 and have worn it since I was little. He was my role model and one of my biggest influences so 33 always stuck with me.”
JoVaughn Darthard, No. 35: “I was the last one to get to pick a number.”
Alan Robinson, No. 44: “Coach gave it to me.”
Pleasant Ridge High boys
Noah Trader, No. 22: "I first took 22 when I was in eighth grade. I liked watching Andrew Wiggins play when he was at KU.”
Dayton Flack, No. 3: "I chose the No. 3 for a few NBA players. One was Allen Iverson, another was Chris Paul and the last is Dwyane Wade. All of them are point guards and have different playing styles. That is why I chose No. 3.”
Glynn Smith, No. 24: "I did not really care what number was on my jersey. I only wanted something that was not going to drown me in cloth and No. 24 was a reasonable size."
Clayton Richter, No. 31: "Originally I had wanted No. 22 however, since I was a freshman, my teammate Noah Trader got it first. I wanted No. 22 because I had it in baseball since I was 6. I then chose my current No. 31 because it was my football number throughout middle school and my freshman year. It is nothing special, but it is my story."
Connor Gibson, No. 15: "At first I asked for No. 13, but there is no 23. For the past two years in summer league I had No. 15. It was also one of the very few numbers that was left, so I took it."
Breydon Baragary, No. 5: "The reason why I wear No. 5 is I that I have worn it since I started sports. This number is not a well-known number as far as famous players wearing it. I like knowing this because I can somewhat make the number mine."
Konner Walker, No. 1: "I chose No. 1 and as a goal to get one steal, one basket and one trip to the line per game."
Zach Nicholls, No. 22: "I got my number when we were picking out jerseys and 22 was the smallest one so I picked it."