ASU’s Briann January honored with jersey retirement

“I thought it was just one of our check-ins ‘cause we check-in often.”

What Briann January expected to be a normal phone call with Coach Charli Turner Thorne became much more than that.

“I think it’s been a foregone conclusion,” Turner Thorne said. “At least in my mind.”

It was time for the conference great and WNBA champion to be honored in a way only two other Sun Devil Women’s Basketball players have – by sending her number 20 jersey to the rafters.

“Just to be among that group and just to be recognized like that for doing something I love,” January said.

Her success has been the program’s success.

She has made two Elite Eight appearances and won two conference Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

“When you have a player like Briann January, you just sleep better, because you know that not only is she gonna be ready to be all in all the time but she is gonna make sure that everybody else does it with her.”

After reaching the heights she has, taking a moment for yourself can sometimes be a challenge.

“You get so caught up with still playing and going from WNBA season to overseas,” January said. “You just kind of get into this routine and you don’t really get to sit back and look at what you’ve done, where you’ve been, or what you’ve accomplished.”

As great as she is on the court, it’s who she is as a person that resonates even more.

She has consistently taken part in the communities she’s played in from college to the pros.

“It is impressive because I know that there are athletes that would think of it more as an obligation,” Turner Thorne said. “Bri will think of it as an opportunity to do something for somebody else where maybe she can do a little bit of good.”

January has even received multiple WNBA Cares Community Assist awards for helping others.

The players she’s coached have taken note.

“She’s helped me a lot and she’s just confident and she’s always worried about her teammates,” ASU sophomore guard Jaddan Simmons said. “She’s never worried about herself.”

“She just brings a level of intensity and passion to the game that I really needed that year that she coached,” Sun Devil senior guard Taya Hanson said.

January’s legacy is one young Sun Devils will continue to look up to, literally and figuratively.

”I just hope they understand the work you have to put into it to accomplish those things,” January said. “I hope that just motivates them to continue to push themselves outside their comfort zone. You can accomplish anything when you do it together.”