All-American Rex Frederick from the 1950s, 1980s All-American Chuck Person and 1990s All-American Wesley Person will be honored this season.
Chuck Person’s No. 45 and Wesley Person’s No. 11 will be retired at ceremonies on Feb. 18th when the Tigers play LSU. Frederick’s No. 23 jersey will be retired on March 4 when South Carolina comes to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
All three players went on to professional basketball. Frederick’s career was cut short by an injury, but he did play one season for Pittsburgh of the now defunct American Basketball Association. The trio will join guard John Mengelt and forward Charles Barkley as Auburn men’s basketball players whose jerseys have been retired.
The top rebounder in Auburn history, Frederick is number one on the AU all-time career list with his average of 14.3 per game. He was named an All-American as a senior in 1959. He also holds the record for rebounds in a single game with 27 vs. SMU in 1957 while playing for Coach Joel Eaves.
Known as “The Rifleman” during his college and pro days, Chuck Person was a star for the Tigers from 1983-86 who led Coach Sonny Smith’s team to Auburn’s best ever postseason run as the Tigers reached the Elite Eight in Houston in the 1986 NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual national champion Louisville.
Person, a forward, is the leading scorer in AU history with 2,311 points even though he played in an era before the adoption of the three-point shot. Person led the Tigers to three NCAA Tournament appearances and the Tigers won the 1985 SEC Tournament in which he was named the MVP.
Chuck Person is shown in action vs. Louisville in 1986.
The fourth overall pick in the 1986 draft, he was named rookie of the year with the Indiana Pacers and played 13 years in the NBA scoring 13,449 points. He is currently an assistant coach for the Pacers.
Wesley Person takes a shot while his Aaron Swinson (right) looks for rebounding position.
Person won All-America honors as a senior in 1994 after wrapping up his career with 2,066 points and the school record for made three-pointers (262-594, 44.1 percent).
A three-time All-SEC pick and the brother of Chuck, Wesley Person played 11 years in the NBA after being a first round draft pick of the Phoenix Suns. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie second team in 1994. Person wrapped up his pro career last season.
Person was in Auburn last weekend for a reunion of former players as part of the university’s centennial celebration and he was the leading scorer in a Legends Game. “I had a great time playing with the guys and it was a lot of fun seeing so many players back for the reunion,” Person said.
Frederick, who runs Clearcreek Guest Ranch in Burnsville, N.C., with his wife Aileen, didn’t play in the Legends Game, but was there to for the weekend’s activities. “My basketball playing days are long gone,” he said. Like Person, Frederick noted that he enjoyed the centennial weekend reunion that featured players from seven different decades of Auburn basketball.
Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs says the three All-Americans are deserving of having their numbers retired. “Auburn people have never forgotten the outstanding accomplishments of former Tigers Chuck and Wesley Person and Rex Frederick,” he said. “This is the greatest honor an Auburn athlete can receive, and it is fitting that we are able to do this during the celebration of our centennial season.”
Premium Subscription Signup
Subscribe to Magazine Only