The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

GUNVILLE: The Case To Why Markus Howard’s Jersey Should Not Be Retired

Photo by Jordan Johnson
Markus Howard (0) high-fives fans after his final game at Fiserv Forum Feb. 29.

Feb. 5, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain: Markus Howard became the first person in the history of the Liga ACB, the top division of professional basketball in Spain, to score 30 points in less than 20 minutes. 

Checking the Baskonia box score and checking up on Howard have become a welcome part of my morning routine. 

After moving from the Denver Nuggets to Baskonia, Howard is back to putting up numbers similar to what he used to at Marquette. He is currently averaging 15.8 points per game on 44.7% from three while taking 7.1 threes per game. 

Every time a Liga ACB highlight of Howard graces my Twitter feed, inevitably someone comments about retiring his jersey.

Marquette should not retire Howard’s jersey.

In case you forgot, Howard racked up a total of 2,761 points and was a two-time All-American selection over his four years at Marquette. He holds the program’s all-time leading scoring record and during his senior season, he led the nation in scoring.

With those accolades alone, he presents a solid case for jersey retirement.

But accolades are only one piece of the jersey retirement puzzle, all of the other pieces are missing.

Postseason success is the most important aspect of jersey retirement. The nine players with retired jerseys have 46 combined NCAA tournament wins, have been to six Final Fours, five National Championship appearances and two have won the National Championship.

By comparison, Howard has no NCAA tournament wins in his two trips.

Don Kojis and Doc Rivers each only have one NCAA win, so how did they get there without the significant postseason achievement of other players?

Kojis is Marquette’s all-time leading rebounder despite playing just three seasons and was a two-time NBA All-Star.

Kojis was one of Marquette’s first true star players and was a huge factor in what the program became. That can’t be discounted here. 

Rivers is fifth in career steals, 10th in career assists, won NBA coach of the year in 2000 and won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008. 

For a player to make a better case for jersey retirement, NBA success should be considered. It raises the status of the Marquette as a program if a player has a lot of success in the NBA and it’s what put Kojis and Rivers over the edge for jersey retirement.

Howard scored more than 20 points only twice in his two-year NBA career.

With zero NCAA tournament wins and not much NBA success, Howard hasn’t proven that his accolades are worth more than that.

The sentimental factor of jersey retirement is hard to predict. But Howard’s style of play, isolation offense and not much else, is contrary to the core of Marquette basketball.

Hard-nose, scrappy basketball has always been what Marquette is about. From legendary coach Al McGuire, who has a number retired of his own, recruiting from cracked sidewalks to Buzz Williams making NBA stars out of junior college players, this team has a history of making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Howard is one of the greatest parts of a whole Marquette has seen, but he was on teams where the sum was perpetually less than the parts. That’s maybe an unfair argument to make because he was just one player, but jersey retirement isn’t fair.

I say all this knowing that I still might see No.0 hanging in the rafters one day, but I’m not convinced that it deserves to be there.

This article was written by John Gunville. He can be reached at j[email protected] or on Twitter @GunvilleJohn.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
John Gunville
John Gunville, Sports Reporter
John is a Sports Reporter at the Wire. He is a senior from Hartland, WI studying international affairs and Spanish and minoring in economics. In his free time, John enjoys playing on the Birdhouse ultimate frisbee team and has been to over 200 Marquette men's basketball games. This year John is looking forward to growing as a writer and share his passion for Marquette sports.

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *