Since injuring his knee last year against George Mason, a lot has changed for senior shooting guard Ryan Betley. He received knee surgery, added 15 to 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason, and plans to grad transfer to another school after the season. Additionally, he also changed his jersey number from 21 to 00.
Betley has always wanted to rock double zero on his game jersey, but he never had the opportunity until this year. In high school, his team did not offer the number, and when he got to University City, forward Max Rothschild, who is one year older than Betley, had already claimed 0. Unlike the NBA, the NCAA does not let two players on the same team wear 0 and 00. As a result, Betley has worn 21 over the past three seasons.
“Double zero was just my favorite number growing up. During my travel basketball days, I would always want to be double zero,” Betley said. “I never had a number that meant anything to me. Twenty one never meant anything, so for my senior year, I wanted to wear something I at least liked.”
As to why he is so passionate about rocking double zero, the senior enjoys the novelty of the number.
“Honestly, I just think it’s kind of strange you’re allowed to wear double zero,” Betley said. “I just like it because it’s a unique number not that many people wear.”
Last season, 00 officially belonged to honorary recruit Tommy Johnston, a local Philadelphia teen who was suffering from a rare, life-threatening disorder known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The number belonging to Johnston last year had nothing to do with the change.
Few players have donned 00 in college or the pros. Betley joins a notable group, which includes Kentucky All-American Tony Delk and former Duke and Syracuse guard Michael Gbinije.
Regardless of which number Betley wears, the senior hopes to continue his strong play as he continues to shake off rust after missing all of last year with a knee injury.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.