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Forward Jamar Akoh during the first half of Sunday's game against Carroll College, with the black band honoring Jud Heathcote and Delvon Anderson visible.

Rebekah Welch, Missoulian

MISSOULA — The Montana men’s basketball program will honor the late Delvon Anderson during its Dec. 19 game against UC Irvine, head coach Travis DeCuire told 406mtsports.com.

Anderson, a former Griz player for two seasons in the early 1990s, will be recognized as a “Legend of the Game” with a plaque that will be presented to his family either during pregame or halftime. Each team that participates in the Legends Classic, which the Griz did from Nov. 13-21, receives the plaque to present to or in memory of a former player or coach.

DeCuire played with Anderson for one year and redshirted the other year Anderson was on the team. He chose to honor Anderson, who died on Aug. 30 at 46 years old, for two reasons.

“In my opinion, Delvon has been someone for a long time that has been underappreciated,” DeCuire said. “I don’t know how often his name has come up in conversation for his contributions to the tradition of Grizzly basketball. So I think it’s an opportunity to shed a little bit of light on what he did for the University of Montana and how he helped us get the ball rolling with championships.

“The other reason would be that we lost him this year, so it’s a great time to give tribute to someone when you recently lose them. To me, it’s a final opportunity to say thank you to someone.”

DeCuire selected the Dec. 19 game against UC Irvine because UC Irvine assistant coach Blaine Taylor was Anderson’s primary recruiter when Taylor was a Montana assistant coach under then-head coach Stew Morrill. Taylor went on to be Montana’s head coach from 1991-98.

The 6-foot-3 Anderson helped the Griz reach back-to-back NCAA tournaments in 1990-91 and 1991-92, his only two seasons in Missoula. The 1990-91 Big Sky championship was the program’s first conference title since 1974-75; he averaged 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game that year.

As a senior, he was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year; he averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 points and had a team-high 42 made 3-pointers. He was the team’s Most Inspirational Player both years in Missoula, and he earned the team award as the Most Valuable Player and the Outstanding Defensive Player one time each.

Heathcote honored, too

The Griz are honoring both Anderson and former head coach Jud Heathcote throughout the season on their jerseys.

They’re wearing a black band near the collarbone on the left side of the jerseys. The band is on both the home and road jerseys.

Heathcote died on Aug. 28 at 90 years old. He coached at Montana from 1971-76 and was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year in the 1974-75 season. He coached the Griz to their first Big Sky title in 1973-74, another conference title the next year and a near-upset of John Wooden’s UCLA powerhouse in the Sweet 16 in 1975, falling 67-64.

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