Cleveland Cavs to retire #11 jersey of ex-center Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Zydrunas-IlgauskasCleveland Cavaliers will retire the #11 jersey, which belonged to the team’s former center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Big Z’s shirt is going up to the rafters in Cleveland on March 8 during a game against the New York Knicks.

Ilgauskas was a first-round draft choice by the Cavs in 1996, the 20th player taken overall, and the second taken that night by the Cavs, who drafted current assistant coach Vitaly Potapenko with the No. 12 pick.

Ilgauskas, a shy, slender center from Lithuania, had just turned 21 and would lose the upcoming season with foot problems that would plague him the first five years of his pro career.

The 7-3 Ilgauskas was a 2-time NBA All-Star, and he played 12 seasons in Cleveland, averaging 13.8 ppg and 7.7 rpg. He also played one season for Miami Heat, before retiring in 2011, and joining Cavs’ front office in January 2012.

Injury-plagued Ilgauskas played 843 NBA games (724 started), averaging 13.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 1.6 bpg in 27.2 mpg.

According to SlamOnline, Ilgauskas will be the seventh Cavalier to have his number retired, and the first since Mark Price’s No. 25 in 1999. Other players so honored include Nate Thurmond (42), Bingo Smith (7), Austin Carr (34), Larry Nance (22) and Brad Daugherty (43).

Ilgauskas finished his NBA career as Cleveland’s all-time franchise leader in games played (771), total rebounds (5,904), offensive rebounds (2,336) and blocked shots (1,269) while ranking second in points scored (10,616).


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