Top 10 UConn Men’s Basketball Players of All Time
by Evan Rodriguez, Stratton Stave
Over the past few decades, the UConn Huskies have established themselves as one of college basketball’s top programs, with no other school winning more national championships since 1999. In those and previous years, Jim Calhoun recruited an elite set of players that allowed the team to reach such heights. While there are plenty of deserving players, sports columnists Evan Rodriguez and Stratton Stave narrowed it down to just 10 in what can best be described as the Calhoun Championship era.
Stratton-Rip Hamilton is in the top spot simply because of her sheer dominance at UConn. The guard averaged 21.5 points per game in each of his last two seasons as a husky and racked up the accolades while winning games. Along with being the most outstanding player on UConn’s first-ever national championship team in 1999, Hamilton was the tournament’s most outstanding player and twice won Big East Player of the Year. Don’t be surprised to see his number 32 follow in Ray Allen’s footsteps and be retired in the near future.
Evan- Cardiac Kemba is one of the most decorated Huskies of all time during his time at UConn. During his career at UConn, the guard not only won an NCAA championship on one of the best UConn teams ever, but also won several Big East honors on top of that. Even in his final year with the team, the NBA guard averaged 23.5 points and cemented his place in Huskies history with impressive stats across the board. Oh, and how could we forget Walker’s game-winning shot against Pitt’ in 2010, one of the greatest shots in college basketball history.
Stratton – Plain and simple, Okafor was that guy on UConn’s second national championship team in 2004. Over his three-year career, the center averaged 13.8 points and 10.6 boards, which are purely dominant figures. He was also one of the greatest defensive forces in Husky history, hitting more than four shots per game. These stats put Okafor on the All-Big East team in all three years and earned him Big East Player of the Year honors twice. Winning a title at UConn gives Okafor legendary status and his elite stats reaffirm his place and placement on this list.
Stratton – Some may not like having Napier so high, but one thing that cannot be disputed is the fact that he was a key player in not one but two national championship races. As a freshman, the point guard was the sixth man on the young 2011 Championship team led by Kemba Walker, averaging a very solid 7.8 points, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals. Even after the Huskies were banned from the NCAA Tournament in 2013, Napier stayed while many left, staying for the laudable price of a 2014 national championship win, averaging 18.6 points and 4.9 assists. decisive per game and winning the most outstanding player during this race.
Evan- As one of the greatest shooters the basketball world has ever seen, Allen had a great college career and easily cemented his place among the top five players. If you don’t watch basketball and don’t know Allen, a 46.6 percent three-point percentage in his senior year with the Huskies will definitely help. His defense was also very strong, as the keeper averaged almost two steals in his last two seasons at Storrs. Although Allen was unable to secure an NCAA tournament as the icing on the cake of his college career, his stats still place him as one of the best to wear UConn blue.
Evan-Gordon was a monster with the Huskies and especially during the Huskies 2003-04 championship roster with Emeka Okafor and Co. line. Gordon was also a multiple All Big East draft pick and was never an easy step during his time with the Huskies. It’s important to note that even with our No. 3 pick Okafor playing alongside Gordon, the guard still led UConn in scoring throughout his college career other than his freshman season, where honorable mention Caron Butler was the best. scorer.
Stratton-El-Amin wasn’t necessarily “the guy” in the 1999 title chase in his second year alongside No. 1 Rip Hamilton, but he was a key player. The undersized playmaker was the assist team leader and really facilitated the attack that allowed Hamilton to flourish. During his career, he has averaged 15.3 points and 4.4 cents, both of which are very solid when mixed with his national championship. It’s also important to note that El-Amin made the All-Big East team during his three seasons as a Husky, earning him a spot on the roster.
Evan – While Marshall doesn’t have any major accolades other than a handful of Big East honors, that shouldn’t take away from what the forward did at UConn. A 25.1 ppg final year at Storrs is no easy feat, and Marshall even helped UConn compete as the No. 2 seed in a competitive NCAA tournament before a devastating loss to Florida. Marshall’s final season at Storrs didn’t end with a championship, but he definitely competed until the very end and embodied the true Husky spirit that is held in high esteem by his players to this day.
Stratton-Many people would say that without Cliff Robinson, there is no UConn basketball as we know it today, with its many titles and All-Americans. Robinson was basically the last Husky to succeed without any major accolades, instead setting the stage for success for those who followed him. In his senior season, Robinson averaged 20 points and 7.4 rebounds, which was good for one of his two All-Big East selections. The year after “Uncle Cliff” left, the Huskies had their “Dream Season” which saw them win the NIT, which was followed nine years later by the first national championship. Although there has been a lack of official accomplishments, what Robinson has done for the program goes beyond any material.
Evan-Thabeet was an absolute force on the defensive end, while averaging four blocks during his college career. What earns Thabeet last place in our picks is the big man’s final season, a string of games that saw Thabeet average 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game. He also lifted UConn to his first Final Four appearance since the legendary UConn Huskies of 2004. It’s no wonder the big man was heavily scouted for his time with the Huskies and selected second overall in the draft. the 2009 NBA in front of players like James Harden and Stephen Curry.
Also considered: Ryan Boatright, Tate George, Rudy Gay, Charlie Villanueva, Caron Butler, Chris Smith, Corny Thompson, Jeremy Lamb, Scott Burrell and Art Quimby.
To note: players in this list are part of the “Championship/Calhoun Era”