After nearly three decades of hanging in the rafters at Duke, Danny Ferry’s No. 35 jersey is coming out of retirement for star freshman Marvin Bagley III. Now Ferry is explaining why he offered his blessing.
In an interview with Hank Tucker of Duke’s student newspaper The Chronicle earlier this week, Ferry opened up about his decision to allow the jersey to come down for Bagley, who wore the number in high school.
“[Associate head coach] Jeff Capel and I had talked about it a while ago, at which time I offered and said I was totally fine with it at some point if they needed to use one of the retired jerseys,” said Ferry. “I’m very proud my jersey will still be hanging in Cameron, but I’m most attached to what is best for Duke and the basketball program.
“Speaking pragmatically, with so many retired jerseys and the great tradition that hopefully continues, this was going to be an issue going forward for the school at some level,” Ferry continued. “For it being a high-quality player and a high-character kid, it certainly makes decisions like this easy.”
Ferry, who went to a lengthy NBA career and a three-year stint as Atlanta Hawks GM, was one of the more storied players in Duke basketball history. A four-year guy, Ferry was a two-time ACC Player of the Year and a two-time All-American selection as well as Naismith College Player of the Year in 1989.
Tucker notes that the Blue Devils have retired 13 jersey numbers in the history of the program, but this is the first time ever that a number has been brought out of retirement. Nevertheless, with how drastically Bagley’s commitment has improved Duke’s title odds, it makes sense for him to be the trailblazer.