UCI News

UCI Athletics to retire Scott Brooks’ number

Former Anteater basketball star honored for achievements on, off the court

October 22, 2019
UCI Athletics to retire Scott Brooks’ number
“I’m humbled and honored with this recognition. UCI holds a special place in my heart,” Scott Brooks says. UCI Athletics

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 22, 2019 — UCI Athletics will retire former Anteaters star Scott Brooks’ No. 12 jersey during the Nov. 30 men’s basketball game against Eastern Michigan University at the Bren Events Center.

“We are proud to retire Scott’s number,” said Paula Smith, director of athletics. “His exemplary playing career at UCI and in the NBA, as well as his involvement and support of UCI Athletics, is deserving of this special honor.”

Brooks’ No. 12 will be only the second jersey retired in men’s basketball history, following Kevin Magee, who had his No. 44 retired in 1995. It is also the third number across all athletic programs, joining former baseball head coach Mike Gillespie’s No. 19, which was retired in 2018.

“I’d like to first thank Chancellor Howard Gillman for his continued support of athletics and Paula Smith for her leadership,” Brooks said. “I’m humbled and honored with this recognition. UCI holds a special place in my heart. I am grateful to Coach Bill Mulligan and my teammates who I share this honor with. It is a privilege to be joining Kevin and Mike with this special distinction.”

Brooks transferred to UCI in 1985 and quickly made an impact, playing in all 30 games and averaging 10.3 points, while recording 95 assists and 57 steals for the Anteaters, who advanced to the 1986 NIT Tournament and defeated UCLA in the first round at Pauley Pavilion.

As a senior in 1986-87, Brooks led the West Coast in scoring with an average of 23.8 points per game and was second in the nation in three-point field goals made per game with a 4.0 average. He also led UCI with a then school-record 66 steals and was named first team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Association, All-District and honorable mention All-American.

He scored 20 or more points in 18 games in the 1986-87 season. Most memorably, on the night that the Bren Events Center opened, Brooks scored 43 points as UCI defeated Utah State, 118-96, Jan. 8, 1987.

He still holds the Anteater records for season (.886) and career free-throw percentage (.859), as well as the UCI record for points in a half with 29 in that opening night win over Utah State. The guard also ranks sixth in career steals (123) and 11th in three-pointers made (142) in 56 games.

After playing on a CBA-championship team at Albany, N. Y., Brooks went on to play 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association, and in 1994, he earned a NBA-championship ring with the Houston Rockets. He was on the rosters of seven NBA teams: Houston, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Following his playing career, he served as an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings and Oklahoma City Thunder before being named the OKC head coach in 2008. He guided the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012.

He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2010 and has been the head coach of two All-Star Games (2012, 2014).

In 2016, Brooks became the head coach of the Washington Wizards. The Wizards open the 2019-20 regular season against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday (Oct. 23).

Brooks, who was inducted into the UCI Hall of Fame in 2001, returns each fall to host the Scott Brooks Golf Invitational in Orange County, where he lives with his family.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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