Allen to be first UConn men's player inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Published on Monday, 2 April 2018 20:20
Written by Neill Ostrout

Journal Inquirer

Though he missed out on the binge of basketball national championships that followed at UConn, Ray Allen remains perhaps the best player ever to suit up for the Huskies.

Appropriately, he’ll also be the first man who played basketball at UConn to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Allen was announced Saturday as one of 13 members in the Hall’s Class of 2018. He, along with the likes of Grant Hill, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, will be honored Sept. 6-8 in Springfield during the annual enshrinement weekend.

Allen won NBA titles with the Celtics in 2008 and the Heat in 2013 as part of his 18-year NBA career. A 10-time all-star, Allen remains the league’s career leader in 3-point field goals made (2,973) and is sixth on the all-time free throw percentage list (.894). He scored 24,505 career points.

But it’s his time in Storrs, where he was an All-Big East performer in 1995 and 1996, and a first team All-American in 1996, that people in this area will likely remember.

Fellow Husky Rebecca Lobo, coaches Geno Auriemma and Jim Calhoun, have already represented UConn with their induction into the Hall of Fame, but Lobo was enshrined as a contributor.

Allen’s insertion could start a trend in the coming years for UConn men’s basketball players to be so feted.

Former Husky Richard Hamilton was a finalist this season and could soon join Allen. And the start of Kemba Walker’s NBA career has shown him capable of joining the group some day.

“The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to honor the best in the game, both men and women at all levels and throughout the world,” John Doleva, the president and CEO of the Hall of Fame said in announcing the new class. “The Class of 2018 is a remarkable bunch with accolades spanning decades and continents. As players, coaches, and executives, we thank them for their contributions to the game and look forward to honoring them during Enshrinement this fall.”

Allen scored 1,922 points in his UConn career, the fifth-most in school history. He made 44.8 percent of his 3-point shots, and scored in double figures in 67 straight games.

Even at a school that has become synonymous with clutch shots, from Tate George against Clemson in 1990 to Hamilton against Washington in 1998 to Shabazz Napier against Florida in 2014, Allen’s running shot to beat Georgetown in the 1996 Big East championship game remains among the most iconic.

UConn was 89-13 in Allen’s three years at the school, winning three Big East regular season titles.

“Ray is as talented an athlete as I’ve ever coached,” Calhoun said. “His remarkable work ethic allowed him to continue to define and refine his superior skills as he evolved into the greatest shooter in NBA history. Ray Allen is an authentic Hall of Famer.”

Posted in The Bristol Press, UConn on Monday, 2 April 2018 20:20. Updated: Monday, 2 April 2018 20:23.