Auburn's No. 11 A Happy Person

Wesley Person talks about his special night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Auburn, Ala.--Wesley Person says that being honored by Auburn University by having his jersey retired is one of the highlights of his life.

On Saturday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum the former Tiger and NBA star's jersey No. 11 was retired in ceremonies at halftime of Auburn's game vs. LSU, a matchup won 65-61 by the visitors. Auburn also retired the No. 45 worn by his older brother, Chuck, to double the number of players with that honor. The previous two are guard John Mengelt (1969-71) and Charles Barkley (1982-84).

"This is a dream come true after all of the work and time I have put into basketball at the high school, college and professional levels," Person tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.

"I am going to do my best to represent Auburn University with class," he adds. "That is very important to me. I have a lot of respect for Auburn. A lot of people had big-time careers here at Auburn, but don't have their name up in the rafters."

Person, who also had his Brantley High School jersey retired last year, wrapped up his NBA career following the 2004-2005 season. He is currently working as an assistant coach at Brantley and says coaching is something he wants to do for a second career.

"I am getting my feet wet doing that right now and I am enjoying it," says Person, whose high school coach Earl Henderson was at Saturday's halftime ceremony. "We are playing in the sub-region tournament and have a game coming up on Monday night.

"I hope to be able to move on and coach at the college level," Person adds. "That is my dream. That is my next goal.

Person played for the Tigers from 1990-94 where he was a three-time All-SEC selection and an All-American as a senior when he led the SEC in scoring with 22.2 points per game.

He is the third leading scorer in Auburn history with 2,066 points and the leader in three-pointers with 262.

In addition to his high school coach attending the ceremony, Connie Eagles, the widow of former AU coach Tommy Joe Eagles, was there for the ceremony along with the guard's wife, children and mother.

Chuck Person played at Auburn from 1983-86 and is currently an assistant with the Indiana Pacers. The leading scorer in Auburn history, he finished his AU career with 2,311 points and was a two-time All-American. He led Auburn to its best run in NCAA Tournament play, an Elite Eight berth in 1986 for Coach Sonny Smith.

Person was represented by Smith at Saturday's ceremony. When asked if he was disappointed if his brother wasn't there, Wesley said, "He is his own man. He had things to do. I don't know what the situation is with that, but I am just happy to be here and have the opportunity to see my number go up there. I don't want to think about anything negative on a joyous day."

Smith says that Chuck Person was a tremendous player for the Tigers and a joy to coach. "He was an unselfish star," Smith says. "It is very hard to find those kind of guys.

"He wasn't a good defender when I got him, but he was a great one when he left here because of how hard he worked and how much weight he gained and how hard he worked in the weight room.

"Chuck was just an exceptional person and player for me to coach," Smith adds. "He gave up a lot to play four years. He could have gone (to the pros) early."


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