the Baller’s Almanac: September 9, 2012

Shane Battier turns 34 today. Born in Birmingham, Michigan, he was recognized as a star as early as 7th grade. The writer Dan Wetzel followed him for five months during high school and came away impressed. "I’d covered high-school basketball for eight years and talked to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kids — really every single prominent high-school basketball player in the country,” Wetzel says. “There’s this public perception that they’re all thugs. But they aren’t. A lot of them are really good guys, and some of them are very, very bright. Kobe’s very bright. LeBron’s very bright. But there’s absolutely never been anything like Shane Battier.”

He would be named Mr. Basketball in the State of Michigan, and end up committing to play at Duke.

As a Blue Devil he helped his team to two Final Fours and a National Title. He was the consensus Player of the Year in 2001, and was a three-time Defensive Player of Year recipient.

His number (31) was retired by Duke.

Tharon Mayes was born on this day in 1968, in New Haven, Connecticut. Mayes starred for Florida State, finishing in the career top-20 for scoring and steals. He is the stepfather of 2013 top-25 recruit Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Other birthdays include: Stan Noszka 1920 (Duquesne), Steve Downing 1950 (Indiana), Walter Davis 1954 (North Carolina), Jose Slaughter 1960 (Portland), Dan Majerle 1965 (Central Michigan) Lance Blanks 1966 (Virginia and Texas), BJ Armstrong 1967 (Iowa), Sean Rooks 1969 (Arizona), Alvin Jones 1978 (Georgia Tech) and Luc Mbah a Moute 1986 (UCLA)