Louisiana by the Numbers: The best of every uniform (20-29)
Part 8 of a series
This is what happens when history meets numbers.
Crescent City Sports has decided to go back through the list of greatest players to compete on the fields, courts and diamonds of Louisiana and decide who was the best to wear every number from 0 to 99.
Our rules are simple: To be eligible for our list, you had to play for a college or professional team in Louisiana, and the list is based on the number you wore while in Louisiana.
The eighth of our 10-part series looks at Nos. 20-29, and as the numbers get lower, the choices get even tougher.
Without further adieu, here is the latest of the best:
No. 20 – Billy Cannon, LSU football (1957-59): For six decades, Cannon was the only Heisman Trophy winner from a Louisiana school, but that of course changed last fall. He led LSU to its first national championship in 1958 before winning the Heisman the following season, thanks in large part to his famous Halloween night punt return against Ole Miss. Cannon was a unanimous first-team All-American both years. Following the Tigers’ Sugar Bowl loss on Jan. 1, 1960, Cannon signed with the Houston Oilers and played in the AFL for all 10 seasons – four for the Houston Oilers and six for the Oakland Raiders – before finishing his pro career in 1970 with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was twice named first-team All-AFL and was a part of three league championship teams. Cannon’s No. 20 was retired by LSU and he is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mention: Tommy Mason, Tulane football (1958-60); Kim Mulkey, LA Tech women’s basketball (1980-84); Joe Scheuermann, Tulane baseball (player 1983-84, coach 1985-90), Delgado baseball coach (1991-present); Lardarius Webb, Nicholls football (2007-08)
No. 21 – Dalton Hilliard, LSU football (1982-85), Saints (1987-93): Hilliard, a native of Patterson, played on an SEC champion at LSU and on the Saints’ first division championship team. He rushed for 4,050 yards, caught 120 passes and accounted for 50 touchdowns in four seasons in Baton Rouge. Hilliard wore No. 40 as a rookie with the Saints before changing to his college number. His 53 touchdowns still rank fourth in team history. His best season was 1989, when he scored 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,262 yards. Hilliard is a member of the Saints Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Lucroy, Louisiana baseball (2005-07); Jamaal Magloire, Hornets (2002-05); Ron Maestri, UNO baseball coach (1972-85, 2013-14); Red Robbins, Buccaneers-ABA (1967-70); Truck Robinson, Jazz (1977-79); Jerry Stovall, LSU football (1960-62); Joyce Walker, LSU women’s basketball (1980-84)
No. 22 – Bob Hopkins, Grambling basketball (1952-56): You’ll read in a minute about an NCAA record that may never be broken, but fact is, it’s not a Louisiana collegiate record. The 6-foot-8 Hopkins scored 3,759 points in four seasons at Grambling, averaging 29.8 points per game, before playing four seasons in the NBA with the Syracuse Nationals. In his post-playing career, the Jonesboro native briefly served as head coach of the Seattle Supersonics and was an assistant with the Sonics and New York Knicks and made several college stops, including Xavier, Southern and his alma mater, Grambling. Hopkins is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mention: Brad Cresse, LSU baseball (1997-2000); Thomas Diamond, UNO baseball (2002-04); Mike Green, LA Tech basketball (1970-73); Mark Ingram, Saints (2013-18); Donald “Slick” Watts, Xavier basketball (1970-73); Tramon Williams, LA Tech football (2003-05)
No. 23 – Pete Maravich, LSU basketball (1967-70): As great as Maravich was during his time in Baton Rouge, we often play a game of “what if” when it comes to the college career of “Pistol Pete:” What if there had been a three-point line during his playing days? What if freshmen were not ineligible to compete for the varsity? His 3,667 career points and 44.2 career scoring average – both still NCAA records – would be significantly higher. Last winter, LSU celebrated the 50th anniversary of the night Maravich set the career scoring record. “Pistol” was twice named national player of the year during his time with LSU and his jersey is not only retired in Baton Rouge, but by the Hawks, Jazz and Pelicans. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.
Honorable Mention: Anthony Davis, Hornets/Pelicans (2012-19); Joskeen Garner, Northwestern State women’s basketball (1992-96); Billy Ray Hobley, Dillard basketball (1973-77); Marshon Lattimore, Saints (2017-present); Pierre Thomas, Saints (2007-14); Sparky Wade, LSU basketball (1931-35)
No. 24 – Buford Jordan, McNeese football (1980-83), Breakers-USFL (1984): Among a talented group of players to wear the number, Jordan stood slightly above the others. The Iota native was named the Southland Conference player of the decade for the 1980s after becoming the league’s first-ever 4,000-yard career rusher and the leading rusher in Louisiana history. As a pro rookie in New Orleans with the Breakers of the USFL, Jordan rushed for 1,276 yards, and a year later when the USFL folded, he returned to the Crescent City to begin a seven-year run with the Saints (though he wore No. 23 in black and gold). Jordan is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mention: Ledell Eackles, UNO basketball (1986-88); Jake Gautreau, Tulane baseball (player 1999-2001, coach 2010-14); Jamal Mashburn, Hornets (2002-04); Joe Slusarski, UNO baseball (1987-88); Andrew Toney, USL basketball (1976-80)
No. 25 – Rickie Weeks, Southern baseball (2001-03): Weeks rose from a high school player in Florida with minimal college offers to the Golden Spikes Award winner and No. 2 overall draft pick following three spectacular years at Southern. He won the NCAA batting title in both 2002 and 2003, hitting .495 and .479, respectively. Weeks had a career .465 average with the Jaguars. After the Milwaukee Brewers picked him second overall in June 2003, he made his major league debut only three months later. He played 14 seasons in the majors, including 11 with the Brewers.
Honorable Mention: Joe Brockhoff, Tulane baseball coach (1975-93); Reggie Bush, Saints (2006-10); Matt Forte, Tulane football (2004-07); Fred McAfee, Saints (1991-93, 2001-05); Josh Reed, LSU football (1998-2001); Ben Simmons, LSU basketball (2015-16); Y.A. Tittle, LSU football (1944-47)
No. 26 – Deuce McAllister, Saints (2001-09): The all-time leading rusher in Saints history with 6,096 yards, McAllister had four 1,000-yard seasons in a five-year span from 2002-06 and twice was named to the Pro Bowl. The former first-round pick out of Ole Miss showed his durability by touching the football more than 300 times a year from 2002-04, and after an injury cut short his 2005 campaign, he bounced back in Sean Payton’s first season with 1,057 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. A member of the Louisiana Sports, Greater New Orleans Sports and Saints halls of fame, McAllister is now the color analyst on Saints radio broadcasts.
Honorable Mention: Mewelde Moore, Tulane football (2000-03)
No. 27 – Lloyd Peever, LSU baseball (1992): Though Peever was only in Baton Rouge for one season as a transfer from Seminole State College in Oklahoma, he was sensational. Peever was named National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and a first-team All-America by Baseball America and the ABCA after going 14-0 with a 1.92 ERA. LSU coach Skip Bertman called Peever’s season “the greatest single year of any LSU pitcher ever.” That short body of work was enough to earn Peever a spot in the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mention: Malcolm Jenkins, Saints (2009-13, present); Ike Taylor, Louisiana football (2001-02); Pat Patterson, LA Tech baseball coach (1968-90)
No. 28 – Warren Perkins, Tulane basketball (1946-49): The Warren Easton product arrived at Tulane in 1941, but served four years in the air corps during World War II and played for Cliff Wells’ Green Wave after the war ended. A two-time All-SEC selection, Perkins was a drafted by the fledgling National Basketball Association and started in the first-ever NBA game. He went on to a medical career following his playing days. Perkins is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame and a charter member of the Tulane Athletic Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mention: Gene Atkins, Saints (1987-93); Glenn LaFleur, USL football (1966-69)
No. 29 – Sammy Knight, Saints (1997-2002): Undrafted out of the University of Southern California, Knight made it known quickly he belonged in the NFL. In six seasons in New Orleans, Knight was a ball hawk, picking off 28 passes and recovering 10 fumbles. He had 570 tackles as a Saint, including three seasons of at least 100 stops. Atkins picked off Kurt Warner twice in the Saints’ first-ever playoff victory in 2000 over the St. Louis Rams. He was elected to the Saints Hall of Fame in 2011.
Honorable Mention: Steve Barrios, Tulane football (1969-71); Louis Coleman, LSU baseball (2006-09)
Next: The best of Nos. 10-19.
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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…