Sophomore wing, one of Wildcats' most improved players, selects number worn by Kevin Marshall, Dylan Livesay

by: GREG ARTMAN / FILE - Dylan Livesay (left) grew to like the No. 5 when Rudy Fernandez joined the Portland Trail Blazers. He wore it for his senior year at Wilsonville.The kid wearing the No. 5 jersey moves decisively.

He dribbles and darts into the paint, channels his momentum, rises above his defender, flicks his wrist, follows through and watches as the ball glides through the net.

Who is this blossoming talent?

If this is film of the Wilsonville boys basketball team’s 2011-12 year, then it’s left-handed point guard Kevin Marshall. If it’s the following season, then it’s versatile wing Dylan Livesay. And if it’s a game this year, then it’s standout sophomore Tyler Hieb.

Hieb is the latest in a string of players in coach Chris Roche’s program to don No. 5, high school’s highest legal single-digit jersey number. And he didn’t choose it this season simply because he wore it during his days on the AAU circuit.

“I looked up to them when I was younger and admired how they played the game,” he said of his decision. “So I thought I would continue the legacy of number five in our program.”

'A new start'

The legacy has its roots in the days leading up to the 2009-10 season.

Marshall wore No. 4 as a freshman because there was no No. 5 jersey. But the number became available as an option entering his sophomore campaign, and he knew it was the one for him.

“Ever since that year, the number grew on me even more,” he said.

The number certainly served Marshall well at Wilsonville.

In 2012, he graduated from the high school as the program’s third all-time leading scorer with 1,169 points and career assists leader with 438.

Marshall averaged 18.4 points and 6.3 assists per game as a senior, when he was named the Northwest Oregon Conference player of the year and later recognized on the all-state first team.

The Wildcats were 101-15 and won four OSAA trophies during his four years as the floor general, including 75-12 with three top-five state finishes in his three years donning No. 5.

“I always grew up liking the number,” he said. “I really don’t have a particular reason for choosing the number other than it wasn’t a very popular number and I didn’t want to choose the (typically popular) number three or number one. I guess it was, for me, mentally, a new start to make a name for myself.”

Marshall did just that. He earned a chance to continue his career at Regis University in Denver, and he hasn’t disappointed. Last season, the 6-foot, 160-pound point ranked second on the by: GREG ARTMAN / FILE - Kevin Marshall, who graduated from Wilsonville High School in 2012 after three years of donning No. 5, still wears the number at Regis University.Rangers in scoring with 11.4 points per game, led the team in playing time with an average of 32.4 minutes per game and dished out 87 assists — the most by a Regis freshman since 1981-82.

Through six games this year, Marshall was averaging 13.7 points and a team-high 3.5 assists per game.

His recipe for success includes hard work, mental toughness and a secret ingredient.

“I am still wearing the number five,” he said.

Fan favorite

By the time Marshall graduated from Wilsonville High School, making his jersey number available for the first time in three years, Rudy Fernandez was no longer a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Dylan Livesay, however, had already become a loyal fan of the Spaniard — and, by association, his jersey number.

“I started wearing the number five in middle school,” Livesay said. “The Blazers had just signed Rudy Fernandez, and I was really excited. I thought he was going to be the answers to the Blazers’ prayers and was going to save the team. So when he came to Portland and started wearing number five, I wanted to wear number five. Eventually, the number just grew on me and developed into my favorite number.”

Fernandez wasn’t exactly the answer to the Blazers’ prayers. His production tapered off after he averaged 10.4 points per game as a rookie during the 2008-09 NBA season, and he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks after starting just nine games in three seasons with Portland.

But the Spaniard’s imperfect stint with the Blazers didn’t diminish Livesay’s affinity for the No. 5.

“Although Rudy didn’t perform very well after his rookie season, the number stuck with me,” he said.

Livesay still wanted to wear No. 5 when he joined the Wildcats, but there was a problem: Marshall already had it. So he settled for No. 24.

After patiently waiting his turn, Livesay took immediate action when he learned that Wilsonville would be ordering new uniforms for his senior season.

“I immediately texted Coach Roche to see if he could make number five an XL — it was a medium previously,” he said. “Luckily, he said yes, and the rest is history.”

Indeed, Livesay had a brilliant season in his coveted jersey. The 6-foot-4 senior played everything from post to point guard, stuffing the stat sheet as a versatile scorer, willing passer and adept rebounder.

Arguably his most memorable moment for the Wildcats came while he was wearing No. 24 — that’s because Livesay and his teammates were given special black jerseys for the Class 5A fourth-place game at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.

Even without his usual number, though, Livesay was on point, draining a three-pointer as time expired to lift Wilsonville in a thrilling 50-47 victory over West Albany.

The shot gave the program a top-five trophy for the fifth-straight year and secured its sixth 20-win season in a row.

Shooters' number

As Livesay froze his arm in the follow-through position, his hand still curled towards the rim after his game-winning heroics, Hieb jumped with jubilation.

Just a freshman, Hieb was on the bench a few yards away.

This season, though, with the graduation of Livesay and three other seniors — Ryan Walsh, Tanner Shipley and Andrew Phillisby: GREG ARTMAN - Tyler Hieb is wearing the No. 5 jersey this season, building on the Wilsonville boys basketball program's legacy of major contributors with the number. — Hieb is playing a much larger role on a young but skilled Wilsonville squad.

“He may be our most improved player,” Roche said of the 6-foot-4 wing. “He’s athletic, can shoot, and is a load to contain in the paint. He has a great mix of offensive abilities, and he is so much stronger and quicker than he was a year ago.”

After earning a few starting nods as a freshman, he continued his development during the Wildcats’ summer-league slate. A growth spurt and some time in the weight room have also helped.

Hieb, who scored a career-high 27 points in a recent win over Scappoose, said Wilsonville’s success this year will depend largely on its defensive efforts.

A few days before the team’s Dec. 7 season opener against Yamhill-Carlton, Hieb wrote to Livesay on Twitter to tell him that he had snapped up the No. 5 jersey.

“That means you’ve got to knock down some 3's for me,” Livesay replied. “Keep the shooters’ number alive!”

Marshall, who saw Hieb’s note to Livesay, also responded.

“Better not disappoint wearing that number,” he said.

No pressure.

OK, maybe a little.

“It adds a little extra pressure because I’m representing those guys as well as myself,” Hieb said. 

Added Livesay: “I think it is cool that Ty chose number five because he is a great player and will represent the number well.”

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