Louisiana by the Numbers: The best of every uniform (30-39)

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David West

Part 7 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 seventh of our 10-part series looks at Nos. 30-39, and perhaps the hardest decision yet between a pair of greats from one school.

Without further adieu, here is the latest of the best:

No. 30 – David West, Hornets (2003-11): A first-round pick out of Xavier in the 2003 NBA Draft, West played the first eight seasons of his 15-year pro career for the Hornets and left as the franchise’s all-time leader in career points and rebounds (since passed by Anthony Davis). He had his best season in 2008-09, when he averaged 21.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game – both ranked 15th in the NBA. West was named to the NBA All-Star Game in both 2008 and 2009.

Honorable Mention: Alex Bregman, LSU baseball (2013-14); Chad Ogea, LSU baseball (1989-91); Wayne Wilson, Saints (1979-86)

No. 31 – Chuck Finley, Northeast Louisiana baseball (1984-85): Finley’s journey to a major league career that featured 200 wins, five All-Star Game appearances and more than 2,600 strikeouts began with two potential-filled seasons at Northeast. The big left-hander pitched for 17 years in the majors, the first 14 with the Angels. He finished second in the American League in ERA in both 1989 and 1990 and led the league with 13 complete games in 1993. He was a 2006 inductee into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Honorable Mention: John Arthurs, Tulane basketball (1966-69); Jim Taylor, Saints (1967); Wally Pontiff Jr., LSU baseball (2000-02)

No. 32 – Karl Malone, LA Tech basketball (1982-85): Before the “Mailman” became the second-leading scorer in NBA history, the native of tiny Summerfield, Louisiana, led the Bulldogs to their best-ever season, going 29-3 and reaching the Sweet 16 in 1985. Malone scored 1,716 points and grabbed 859 rebounds in three seasons in Ruston and was a three-time All-Southland Conference selection. His 36,928 career points in 19 NBA seasons trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the league’s all-time list. He was twice named the league’s most valuable player and was first-team NBA 11 times. The court inside the Thomas Assembly Center is named in Malone’s honor.

Honorable Mention: Brian Bogusevic, Tulane baseball (2003-05); Howard Carter, LSU basketball (1979-83); Tyrell Fenroy, Louisiana football (2005-08); Rick Kingrea, Tulane football (1968-70); Kenny Vaccaro, Saints (2013-17); Larry Wright, Grambling basketball (1973-76)

No. 33 – Seimone Augustus, LSU women’s basketball (2002-06): In easily the toughest call to date on the list, Augustus gets the nod over another LSU basketball 33, Shaquille O’Neal. Augustus, a native of Baton Rouge, was a game-changer for the LSU women’s program, leading the Lady Tigers to four consecutive trips to the Women’s Final Four. A two-time National Player of the Year, Augustus scored 2,702 points in her career. The No. 1 overall pick of the Minnesota Lynx in the 2006 WNBA Draft, Augustus has won four WNBA titles and three Olympic gold medals as a pro. Her jersey was retired by LSU in 2010.

Honorable Mention: Jerry Dalrymple, Tulane football (1929-31); Devon Gales, Southern football (2013-15); Jabari Greer, Saints (2010-13); Tyrone Hughes, Saints (1993-96); Shaquille O’Neal, LSU men’s basketball (1989-92); Mike Strachan, Saints (1975-80); Paul Thompson, Tulane basketball (1979-81; wore 34 from 1981-83)

No. 34 – C.A. Core, Southeastern Louisiana basketball (1964-68): His given name was Charles Alvin Core but he was known to his Lion teammates as “Moon.” Core averaged 21.3 points and 15.4 rebounds per game for his career and a two-time NAIA All-American, the only such honoree in program history. He is the only Southeastern men’s basketball player to have his jersey retired. An Indiana native, Core settled in the New Orleans area after serving in the Army and held several high school coaching jobs before his untimely death at age 41 in 1986.

Honorable Mention: Joe Dean, LSU basketball (1949-52); Sylvia Fowles, LSU women’s basketball (2004-08); Tony Galbreath, Saints (1976-80); Mike McKenzie, Saints (2005-09); Gary Reasons, Northwestern State football (1980-83); Johnny Robinson, LSU football (1957-59); Ricky Williams, Saints (1999-2001)

No. 35 – Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, LSU basketball (1988-90): Abdul-Rauf played under his birth name, Chris Jackson, in Baton Rouge, earning first-team All-America and SEC Player of the Year honors in each season. He became just the second freshman ever to earn first-team AP All-America honors after averaging an NCAA-record 30.2 points per game. After scoring 1,854 points in two seasons, he turned pro and was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. Abdul-Rauf averaged 14.6 points per game in nine professional seasons. At age 51, he continues to stay active in the game, having played in the Big3 each of the last two summers. LSU retired his jersey earlier this year.

Honorable Mention: Jim Nance, Shreveport Steamer-WFL (1974-75); Micah Owings, Tulane baseball (2005)

No. 36 – Eddy Furniss, LSU baseball (1995-98): A native of Nacogdoches, Texas, Furniss left his mark in four seasons in Baton Rouge, ending his career as the SEC’s career leader in hits, home runs, doubles, RBI and total bases. Furniss was the winner of the 1998 Dick Howser Trophy, emblematic of the national player of the year. A three-time All-American who led the Tigers to two NCAA titles, Furniss played four seasons of minor league baseball before heading to medical school. He is now a doctor in his hometown. He’s a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and his jersey has been retired by LSU.

Honorable Mention: Rueben Mayes, Saints (1986-90); Tony Robichaux, Louisiana baseball coach (1995-2019)

Tommy Casanova

No. 37 – Tommy Casanova, LSU football (1969-71): Born in New Orleans and raised in Crowley, Casanova – who was a cornerback, kick returner and occasionally a running back at LSU – was a three-time All-American for the Tigers. Making that accomplishment even more impressive in that in came in the era of freshman ineligibility. A second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1972 NFL Draft, Casanova was a three-time Pro Bowl pick in six seasons. Casanova was named to the Walter Camp All-Century team in January 2000 and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. His number has been retired by LSU.

Honorable Mention: Steve Gleason, Saints (2000-06); Tommy Myers, Saints (1972-81); Eddie Yarnall, LSU baseball (1994-96)

No. 38 – George Rogers, Saints (1981-84): Rogers was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft by the Saints after winning the Heisman Trophy at South Carolina the previous year. He made a quick splash, leading the NFL in rushing as a rookie with 1,674 yards and being named first-team all-pro and NFL offensive rookie of the year. He rushed for 4,267 yards and 23 touchdowns in four seasons with the Saints before heading to Washington for his final three seasons in the NFL.

Honorable Mention: Frank Sullivan, Loyola football (1931-34); Brian Wilson, LSU baseball (2001-03)

No. 39 – Barry Manuel, LSU baseball (1985-87): Manuel was the closer for the Tigers’ first two College World Series teams. An All-American in 1986, Manuel made a school-record 41 appearances out of the bullpen. He allowed a school-record 5.3 hits per nine innings in his career. The Mamou native spent parts of five seasons in the major leagues and eventually returned to Acadiana, where he has most recently served as a high school coach.

Honorable Mention: Brett Maxie, Saints (1985-93)

Next: The best of Nos. 20-29.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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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;…

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