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Originally published Friday, January 23, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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UW retires former basketball star Brandon Roy's No. 3 jersey

In many ways, this dream started in the rafters of Edmundson Pavilion. Ineligible to play at Washington until attaining a minimum SAT test...

Seattle Times staff reporter

In many ways, this dream started in the rafters of Edmundson Pavilion.

Ineligible to play at Washington until attaining a minimum SAT test score, guard Brandon Roy would sit high in the bleachers, away from meddlesome fans, and watch the Huskies. Occasionally he'd look at Bob Houbregs' No. 25 jersey hanging in the rafters.

Maybe, just maybe, he'd think.

Reality at the time, however, was cleaning up spills from massive cargo containers or driving forklifts at a local shipping company for $11 per hour.

"You have a chance to live out your dream," co-workers would tell the former Garfield High School basketball star during breaks, "so take full advantage."

Roy did. And on Thursday night, he saw it unfurl before him in the form of his No. 3 jersey being retired at Washington. The replica jersey trimmed in purple and gold, with "Roy" inscribed, hung in the rafters between the home and visitors' benches.

A sold-out crowd chanted "B-Roy" during a standing ovation as Roy's parents, fiancée, two children and former coach Lorenzo Romar smiled broadly. OK, maybe his infant daughter didn't exactly know what was happening, but she was the only one not understanding that her father made basketball a hot ticket in Seattle again.

"It's such a moment for me," said Roy, who joins Houbregs as the only players in 113 years of Washington basketball to have their jerseys retired. "For me, that just says how special it is and how these people really view me at Washington. I'm just happy that I'm able to continue to make people proud."

The star for the Portland Trail Blazers is a throwback player, staying four years in college when the trend is to bolt to the NBA. But, for Roy, circumstances dictated staying at Washington.

First there were three failed SAT tests. Then there was a knee injury. Last came the harsh truth that he simply wasn't ready for the league after a rough workout with the Blazers.

With Romar and former assistant coach Ken Bone in his ear about being more assertive on the court as a senior, Roy averaged 20.2 points to guide the Huskies through a 26-7 season that ended in a second consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. He was Pac-10 Player of the Year and drafted sixth overall by Minnesota, which immediately traded him to Portland.

"I didn't fully understand what [Romar and Bone] meant until I was going into my senior year," said Roy, the 2007 NBA Rookie of the Year. "They said, 'The good thing about that year was that Nate [Robinson], Will [Conroy] and Martell [Webster] are gone so your crutch is gone. You really have to show people what you can do now if you want to continue to be successful.' I took that and said, 'You're right.' And this day wouldn't have been possible if wasn't for the career I was able to have here."

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Roy's day began with a luncheon honoring him and Houbregs. Then Roy dropped by NikeTown to speak to about 200 fans, some traveling from Portland. Roy, 24, then attended a reception for Students First, a universitywide scholarship fundraiser.

After the ceremony, Roy and his family sat behind the Huskies' bench to watch his former team, his first at Edmundson Pavilion since leaving in 2006.

"He used to come to my games in high school," said Sacramento Kings center Spencer Hawes, a former Husky. "He took me under his wing and to be able to watch him and how he carries himself meant a lot. I'm thrilled to be able to see this."

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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