UC Irvine honors Scott Brooks, retires his number 12

On Saturday night, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks had his jersey forever enshrined at his alma mater. The University of California Irvine retired Brooks’ number 12 during halftime of the Anteaters’ 77-56 win over Eastern Michigan.

Despite his self-described “average NBA career,” Brooks was simply a star in college. During his senior year, he led the then-West Coast Conference with 23.8 points per game and ranked second in the nation in 3-pointers at four per game. Brooks’ 43 points against Utah State on the opening night of the Bren Events Center on January 8, 1987 was one of his signature moments as an Anteater It was only fitting that Brooks had his jersey retired in the very building where he truly opened the building with his 43-point performance almost 33 years earlier.

“We talk about work ethic – he lived it,” Brooks’ UC-Irvine teammate and Wizards vice president of pro personnel Johnny Rogers said before the jersey retirement on Saturday. “It’s no accident that he got where he was, ending up playing 10 years in the NBA without being drafted. He played three years in the CBA, worked his way up. He earned everything he got. He was actually a pretty good player and he was self-made.”

At a reception before the game, Brooks thanked those in attendance, including his wife and two kids, several members of his coaching staff, general manager Tommy Sheppard, and all of those in attendance.

The one person he thanked who he wished could have been there was his mother and hero, Lee. She taught him life lessons and that the word “can’t” was not an option. Along with his mom, Brooks thanked several people who came across his life that made his success possible.

“I have a lot of gratitude for all of the people that put me in this position,” Brooks said. “It goes back to my adolescent years, being around all of the great people and the mentors. I couldn’t have done this by myself, I needed the people who were here to guide me along the way.”

Standing with former teammates, family members, and more, Brooks saw his jersey hang on the wall of the arena, only the second player in program history to receive the honor. Brooks was emotional during the halftime ceremony, and once again thanked his family, UC Irvine, teammates, coaching staff, and those who made it possible.

“To see my jersey up at the Bren Center is an honor for my family for many years to come.”

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