WKU to retire Courtney Lee’s jersey

WKU alum guard Courtney Lee makes an between-the-legs dunk late in the Big Red vs. Big Blue alumni in Diddle Arena on Tuesday night. The red team defeated the blue team 112-97.

Billy Rutledge

WKU’s all-time leading scorer, and starting small forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, Courtney Lee will have his number 32 jersey retired in E.A. Diddle Arena Jan. 22 against UTEP.

Lee will become the tenth person associated with the men’s basketball team to have their number retired, joining E.A. Diddle, Clem Haskins, Tom Marshall, Jim McDaniels, John Oldham, Carlisle Towery, Bobby Rascoe, Darel Carrier and longtime radio play-by-play voice Wes Strader.

Lee attended WKU from 2004-2008 and holds seven top marks in eight different statistical categories including Lee’s 2,238 career points, which is tied for first all-time with Jim McDaniels.

Other notable stats Lee totaled at WKU include games started (2nd; 127), minutes played (1st; 3,957), field goals (3rd; 802), three-point field goals (2nd; 245), three-point field goal percentage (6th; .401), free throws (7th; 389), free throw percentage (2nd; .8172) and steals (2nd; 242).

 “We are honored to have Hilltopper legend Courtney Lee return to Diddle Arena for the much-deserved retirement of his jersey,” WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said. “Courtney is an outstanding person and player whose presence enhanced our program and university and brought significant notoriety to each. While earning his degree, Courtney’s historic individual accomplishments on the court also resulted in equally significant team achievements. This will be a great night, and we look forward to having Courtney and his family return to Diddle Arena for this special occasion.”

In 2004, Lee set a WKU record for freshman scoring with 461 points in 31 games. His collegiate career also included First Team All-Sun Belt Conference for three consecutive seasons (2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08), Sun Belt Conference player of the year in his senior season (2008), and an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16 after defeating Drake and San Diego in the tournament. His final season he averaged 20.4 points per game which was ranked 28 nationally in scoring at the time.

“I am truly honored,” Lee said. “I enjoyed my time on The Hill and am grateful to have played in front of the fans in Bowling Green. I thank my teammates and the entire coaching staff, my academic advisor Ms. Dixie (Mahurin) and Danny Rumph and the Rumph family for helping to guide me in becoming the man I am today. I would also like to give credit to Jim Clark, President (Gary) Ransdell and Travis Hudson and everyone else that was a part of helping me reach this goal. This is a true blessing for my family and me.”

Lee was drafted 22 overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2008 NBA draft. In his seven year career, he has played for five different teams most recently as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. For his professional career, Lee is averaging 9.6 points, 1.5 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game.

WKU faces UTEP Jan. 22 at Diddle Arena where Lee’s jersey will be hung, for the rest of program history.