The JET flies to rafters at McKale - Tucson News Now

The JET flies to rafters at McKale

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TUCSON, AZ -

Arizona Athletics retired the No. 31 jersey of Jason Terry, member of the Wildcats' 1997 national championship team and winner of National Player of the Year honors in 1999, at halftime of Thursday's men's basketball game versus USC.

Men's basketball student-athletes who have received a major national “athlete of the year” honor are eligible to have their jerseys retired. Rather than retire individual numbers, Arizona Athletics retires jerseys with the number and the name of the player who made it famous during his time in Tucson.

“I am extremely blessed and honored to have my jersey retired,” Terry said. “It is not only a tribute to what I accomplished as a student-athlete at UA, but to all the people who helped me on my journey. I want to extend special thanks to President Hart, Greg Byrne, Lute Olson, Jim Rosborough, Jennifer Mewes, the Pac-12 Conference and all Wildcat fans. Bear Down!”

One of the most dynamic players in program history, Terry was a consensus first-team All-American and earned National Player of the Year honors from Sports Illustrated, CBS and Basketball Times as a senior in 1999 after averaging 21.9 points, 5.5 assists and 2.8 steals per game.

The Seattle native was an integral component for Arizona's 1997 national championship team, averaging 10.6 points, 4.4 assists and 2.5 steals per game. He also helped lead UA to a 17-1 conference record and a Pac-10 championship in 1998.

“What a well-deserved honor for Jason,” Arizona Vice President for Athletics Greg Byrne said. “When you think about the all-time greats of Arizona basketball, Jason's name comes to mind immediately. We're proud that Jason is an Arizona Wildcat. His name will go down as one of this program's all-time greats, and this jersey retirement is a tremendous recognition of that sentiment.”

President Ann Weaver Hart added her praise for Terry's achievements, noting, “Jason's success epitomizes the University of Arizona's ‘Bear Down' culture and the caliber of our alumni.”

“The Jet” continues to hold the program record with 245 steals in an Arizona uniform, a total that also still ranks fifth in Pac-12 history. He currently ranks fourth in UA history in three-point field goals (193), eighth in assists (493) and 18th in scoring (1,461).

For his career, he averaged 11.3 points, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals in 129 games for the Wildcats. Terry was also the first player in Arizona men's basketball history to score 1,000 points and record 200 steals in his career.

“It's an exciting day in our program's history to witness the retiring of Jason Terry's No. 31 jersey,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. “Jason is a high school state champion, a 1997 national champion, a 2011 world champion, an NBA Sixth Man of the Year and a 16-year veteran of the NBA.

“As decorated as his basketball career has been, it's the story of him taking the role of a sixth man in 1997 that motivates our current and future players at Arizona. He is the consummate teammate and professional, and someone we are all very proud to call a Wildcat.”

A standout on the professional level, as well, Terry is in his 16th season in the NBA, where he owns career averages of 15.2 points, 4.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He was a lottery pick out of Arizona in 1999, going 10th overall to the Atlanta Hawks and earning NBA All-Rookie second team accolades in 2000.

Terry represented both UA and the Hawks on Team USA at the 2001 Goodwill Games, averaging 7.2 points and 1.4 steals per game to help the U.S. capture the gold medal.

After five seasons in Atlanta, he spent eight seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009 and helping guide the franchise to its first-ever world championship in 2011. Terry has made 2,004 three-point field goals in his career, which ranks third on the league's all-time chart.

He is currently a member of the Houston Rockets alongside fellow former Arizona star Nick Johnson.

Terry has also been active in the community during his NBA career, starting the Jason Terry Foundation in 2000 to provide inner-city youth the opportunity to pursue education beyond high school.

In 2007, Building Leaders for Tomorrow honored him with its Image Leader Award in Sports for his impact on Dallas youth and his commitment to the community as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. He was also the recipient of the NBA Community Assist Award in July 2003, earning a donation from the league to a charity of his choice.

Copyright 2015 Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.

YOUTUBE: Celebrating The JET

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