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Gainesville to retire Humphrey's jersey Saturday
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Former Gainesville star and University of Georgia forward Tasha Humphrey will have her jersey retired Saturday at Gainesville High. - photo by The Associated Press

A ceremony five years in the making is finally happening.

On Saturday, after her former team plays Buford High at 4 p.m., Gainesville High great Tasha Humphrey will have her No. 32 jersey retired by the school.

Having her number retired is something that Humphrey knew would happen one day. At her senior banquet in 2004, Gainesville coach Manson Hill told her that her jersey would be retired, it was just a matter of time until it happened.

“When we retire people’s jerseys we always wait until they graduate college,” Hill said. “With her playing overseas it was hard to find a good time to do it until now.”

Drafted No. 11 by the Detroit Shock in April’s WNBA draft, Humphrey signed to play for Israel’s Electra Ramat-Itasharon of the FIBA Euroleague in July, and was traded to the WNBA’s Washington Mystics in August and averaged 8.3 points per game. She is currently playing in Italy for Schio.

The former University of Georgia standout is a three-time All-America and four-time first-team All-SEC player, and is among Lady Bulldog career leaders in points, rebounds, field goals made and blocked shots, free throws made and free throw attempts.

Her remarkable college career was a carry over from her high school years, as Humphrey led Gainesville to three state titles and holds eight individual records at the school. The 6-foot-3 forward holds the school record for career points (2,663), single-season points (702), career free throw percentage (77.6), career 3-point field goals (147), career rebounds (1,228) single-season rebounds (332), career blocks (352) and single-season blocks (118).

And while her name will remain in those record books for some time, it was her ability to come up clutch that set her apart from her peers.

“She’s the best player, in my mind, that’s ever played in this county,” Hill said. “But she’s not only a great player, but she’s an extraordinary big game player.”

No big-game performance was greater than the final one of her high school career, as Humphrey scored 29 points to lead the Lady Red Elephants to their third state title in four years.

“It’s always team first,” Humphrey said in 2004. “People would say that ‘It’s Tasha and Gainesville.’ But it wasn’t, it was the Gainesville High basketball team; I just play on it.”

And now, she’ll forever be a part of it.

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