Welcome to The Vault, the weekly blog post that takes a look back at some of the best (and worst) jerseys throughout sports history. Each week, a classic set of threads each from the sports of football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and soccer will be revisited. Because of the upcoming NCAA Basketball tournament this Thursday, this week’s collection will feature some of the great college basketball jerseys that have graced the court in March.
All submissions are welcome by messaging @tftb_smalls on IG.
Michigan Wolverines F Chris Webber
Our first jersey this week was part of perhaps the most notorious and popular college basketball team of all time. Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson were known as the Fab Five while they were at the University of Michigan. Together, they took the college basketball world by storm as freshmen, when they became one of the best groups of starters in the country. They lost to Duke in the 1992 national title game to end their freshmen year, and made it to the championship game once again in 1993, where they would lose to North Carolina. Chris Webber, who was considered by many to be the best overall player in the Fab Five, scored 17.4 points per game in his 70 games playing for Michigan. Unfortunately, despite being an unbelievable player throughout the 1993 regular season and for the majority of the NCAA tournament, Webber is often remembered for calling a timeout when the Wolverines had none left in the title game against the Tar Heels. With that being said, Webber would go on to have a very successful career in the NBA, leading the Sacramento Kings to the 2002 Western Conference Finals. The Fab Five were probably the most exciting and controversial group of players to ever play in college, and their maize uniforms are iconic in the sports world, especially because of the baggy shorts and black socks that the group of freshmen came to be known for.
Syracuse Orange F Carmelo Anthony
The second entry in this week’s Vault belonged to Syracuse Orange and NBA legend Carmelo Anthony. Prior to the 2003 season, Syracuse was always a relevant program, but had never quite put it all together to win a national title. Then along came freshman phenom Carmelo Anthony to get them over the hump by winning the 2003 NCAA championship after beating Kansas in the final. It was also Jim Boeheim’s first national championship since becoming the team’s head coach. The Orange also beat Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas on their way through the final. The one-and-done scored 22.2 points per game in the 2002-2003 season, and scored 21 points in the title game against the Jayhawks to earn himself the Most Outstanding Player award. Obviously, Anthony would go on to have an incredibly successful NBA career as well. The bright orange Syracuse uniforms are some of the most recognizable in the college basketball world, especially with the throwback mascot logo on the shorts. It wouldn’t really be March without these jerseys making an appearance in the tournament.
2013 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
DUNK CITY, BABY. The Florida Gult Coast Eagles absolutely stole the show during the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Coach Andy Enfield’s 15th-seeded squad started off the tourney with a bang by defeating the 2nd-seeded Georgetown Hoyas 78-68 in the first round. In the second round, the Atlantic Sun Conference champions pulled off yet another upset over San Diego State by winning 81-71. Despite getting absolutely no respect coming into March, the Eagles shocked the country with their high-flying dunks, earning them the nickname “Dunk City”. They would eventually lose to Florida in the Sweet Sixteen, ending their flashy Cinderella run. While there’s almost always one team making an unexpected run during March Madness, few teams have ever done it with as much excitement and swagger as Florida Gulf Coast. It’s a little hard to find these outside of the school’s bookstore, but the team’s blue and green color combination makes this jersey a pretty cool find, especially considering the magical run the team had in 2013.
UNLV Rebels F Larry Johnson
Our next jersey belonged to UNLV’s Larry Johnson, who was on one of the best collegiate basketball teams to ever play. After winning the 1990 national title, the UNLV “Runnin’ Rebels” entered the 1991 NCAA tournament undefeated after completely dominating most of their opponents during the regular season. They advanced as far as the national semifinals, where they lost to the eventual champion, Duke. One of the stars of the legendary squad was forward Larry Johnson, who led the Big West Conference in scoring that year with 795 points. Johnson was one of the best-performing players in college basketball, ranking first nationally in rebounds and true shooting percentage. He would later go on to get drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1991 NBA Draft. While the Fab Five are often given credit for bringing baggy shorts to college basketball, UNLV fans would claim that the Rebels were the first to do it in the early 90’s. These uniforms are absolute classics because of their unmistakable shade of red and bold white trim, and because they were worn by one of the greatest teams to ever hit the court.
Georgetown Hoyas G Allen Iverson
The last jersey to be featured in the March Madness edition of the Vault belonged to “The Answer” himself, Allen Iverson. While at Georgetown in the 1995-96 season, Iverson was putting up 25.0 points per game, which was the seventh highest in the country that year. He also led all of NCAA basketball in field goals made with 312, as well as leading the nation in both total points and steals. Led by Coach John Thompson, the Hoyas entered the 1996 tournament as a #2 seed in the East Region, where they would go on to advance to the Elite Eight. The Hoyas lost to the #1-seeded UMass in the Elite Eight by the final score of 86-62. Iverson would later go on to be drafted first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996 NBA Draft. A.I.’s Georgetown jersey is often considered to be one of the best college basketball uniforms of all time. The unique pattern of the stripe on the jersey’s side puts an attractive twist on the school’s traditional color scheme, which cements its place as an all-time March Madness classic.
If you have any jerseys that you’d like to see on the Vault, please feel free to message @tftb_smalls on Instagram. Input is always welcome.