Former Duke basketball star Danny Ferry’s No. 35 jersey is coming out of retirement after almost three decades – with Duke’s newest signee, Marvin Bagley III, the one to wear it.
And Ferry is more than OK with that.
Ferry, who was a forward for the Blue Devils in the 1980s before going on to play in the NBA, told The Chronicle that the needs of the program come before his personal feelings about the jersey – retired in 1989 – going back into circulation.
“(Associate head coach) Jeff Capel and I had talked about it a while ago, at which time I offered and said I was totally fine with it at some point if they needed to use one of the retired jerseys,” Ferry said. “I’m very proud my jersey will still be hanging in Cameron, but I’m most attached to what is best for Duke and the basketball program.”
Ferry’s number is one of 13 Duke has retired. Bagley, who wore No. 35 in high school, announced Monday night that he was completing high school early and intends to play basketball this season at Duke. He also announced he’d be wearing Ferry’s No. 35.
Though he’s never met Bagley, Ferry likes what he’s heard about him as a player and a person. So he’s comfortable seeing Bagley use the number for what’s expected to be his lone season at Duke.
“Speaking pragmatically, with so many retired jerseys and the great tradition that hopefully continues, this was going to be an issue going forward for the school at some level,” Ferry said. “For it being a high-quality player and a high-character kid, it certainly makes decisions like this easy.”