In less than a decade, Tacoma native Isaiah Thomas has gone from the last pick of the 2011 NBA Draft to being only the third Washington basketball player to have his number retired.
Thomas’ No. 2 jersey will be retired by UW during a Feb. 15 game against Utah at Alaska Airlines Arena, the school announced Thursday.
“Words can’t describe how grateful I am to receive this honor,” Thomas said in a statement. “The University of Washington provided me the opportunity and support to pursue my dream of playing professional basketball, but it has also shaped who I am as a person.
“I always dreamed of becoming a Husky, playing in (the Hec Edmundson Pavilion) and earning my degree from Washington, and to know that my name will live there forever means the world to me.”
Born and raised in Tacoma, Thomas attended Curtis High until his junior year. He transferred to South Kent School in Connecticut and in 2006, he committed to UW.
Thomas would burst onto the scene and finish as the program’s eighth all-time leading scorer with 1,721 career points for an average of 16.4 points per game.
He led the Huskies in scoring during his freshman and junior seasons while guiding the team to three straight Pac-12 championships.
Thomas left UW after the 2011 season and was drafted with the 60th and final pick of the NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.
He played with the Kings from 2011 to 2014 before going to the Phoenix Suns. After one season in Phoenix, Thomas went to the Boston Celtics and became one of the league’s premier point guards.
Thomas averaged 19 or more points in his three years in Boston and last season finished with 28.9 points before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer.
Currently the No. 2 jersey is being worn by senior guard Dan Kingma.
Kingma will continue to wear No. 2 for the rest of the season, a school spokesperson told The News Tribune.
“Isaiah’s heart, competitiveness, grit, determination and perseverance through challenges define what it means to be a Husky,” Huskies athletic director and Tacoma native Jennifer Cohen said in a statement. “He has faced obstacles at every stage of his journey, and it is my hope that his jersey in the rafters will serve as an inspiration to many more young men and women throughout the state, to know that anything is possible.”
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark