Walk into the Main Gym at San Clemente High School and look up on the wall to your right. You will see a red jersey emblazoned with the number 22 and the name Garrett. The name and number belong to Dean Garrett, the only player in Triton Men's Basketball history to have his number retired.
He was big, but not a phenom. In fact, he didn't make the Triton Varsity until his junior year in high school. Nonetheless, through hard work, desire and a little Hall-of-Fame coaching, Garrett enjoyed basketball success that most players can only dream about.
Garrett's jersey was retired by Triton Basketball in January 2011 during a special pre-game ceremony. The following evening a dinner was held in his honor. He told the Orange County Register, "Having my jersey retired is a very humbling feeling. I never thought anything like this would ever happen. I have a lot of emotion about this day. This event in my honor is the icing on the cake of my whole career. It's the top of my list."
Being the top of his list is quite a statement after some of the honors he has earned. After his 1984 graduation from SCHS, Garrett, who averaged 20 points per game his senior year while earning All-League, All-County and All-CIF honors, followed his mother to Northern California, where he enrolled at the City College of San Francisco. He had grown from 6-3 his freshman year in high school to 6-11.
He is in the City College Hall of Fame for his role in leading the team to the State Finals. He was named All-State, and more importantly drew the attention of Hall-of-Fame coach Bobby Knight at Indiana University.
Garrett was one for the first J.C. transfers ever recruited by Knight. And it worked out just fine. In 1987, he was a captain on the Indiana team that won the NCAA championship. He still holds the school's single-game and single-season blocked shots records. During his tenure with the Hoosiers, he also played on the Indiana squad which defeated the Soviet Union in an exhibition game, a game from which Coach Knight was infamously ejected.
Following graduation from Indiana in 1988, Garrett was drafted 38th overall in the NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns. He opted instead to play in Europe (Italy and Greece) for the next eight years.
In 1996, the NBA came knocking again with a free-agent contract. That year, at age 30, he was oldest rookie in the league when he took the court with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He would go on to play five more seasons in the NBA, split among the Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets. Interestingly, when he was traded from the Wolves to the Warriors, it was in exchange for Mark Jackson, who is now the head coach of the Warriors.