Allan Houston, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., will be honored when the Vols host Kentucky on March 6.
Houston, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, scored 2,801 points in 128 games during his four seasons (1989-90 to 1992-93) on The Hill. He averaged 21.9 points per game for his career - a mark topped only by New Yorkers Bernard King (25.8) and Ernie Grunfeld (22.3), the only two ex-Vols who preceded him in having their numbers retired. Grunfeld is second on the all-time scoring list with 2,249 points in 101 games. King, who turned pro following his junior year, played in 76 games and ranks seventh with 1,962 career points.
Houston, the SEC's second-leading career scorer behind LSU's Pete Maravich, was a four-time first-team All-SEC selection. He finished his college career as Tennessee's career leader in 3-point baskets with 346. Although that figure was subsequently surpassed by ex-Vol Chris Lofton, it still ranks sixth in NCAA history.
After finishing his UT career, Houston was the first-round pick of the Detroit Pistons in the 1993 NBA Draft. He played 12 distinguished seasons in the pros and represented the U.S. in the 2000 Olympics. He is the fourth-leading scorer in New York Knicks' history behind Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier and Willis Reed.
For all that Houston accomplished on the court, however, he is just as respected for what he accomplished off the court. A noted philanthropist, he has contributed generously to dozens of worthy causes. He also co-created - along with his father, Wade - the "Father Knows Best" Basketball Retreat, a Christian-based weekend that teaches both basketball and life skills.
"Allan represents everything the term 'student-athlete' is supposed to represent," Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton said. "He was a very good student, a campus leader and tremendously successful on the court. We are thrilled to have his number hang in the rafters at Thompson-Boling Arena as a tribute to who he was, and is today."
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl echoed that theme, noting that Houston's qualities as a person surpass his superior qualities as an athlete.
"You can aspire to be the kind of player that Allan Houston was," Pearl said, "but that pales in comparison to trying to become the kind of man he is, the kind of father he is, to have the kind or relationship with The Lord he has and how he wears that on his sleeve."
It is Houston's standing as the consummate family man and humanitarian that Pearl thinks qualifies him to have his number retired ahead of some other ex-Vols who had similarly great careers.
"We can honor a lot of great basketball players," the head man said. "We've got a lot of great basketball players to honor - and we will - but we may never be able to honor a man and a man of God like Allan Houston."
Noting that his Vol career was "four of the most meaningful years in my life," Houston added: "Here, God allowed me to gorw up as a man and as a student-athlete. And I thank everyone who supported me, my family and the university for helping me along the way."