NEVER FOR­GOT­TEN

Ray Allen, Re­becca Lobo to have UConn num­bers re­tired

Hartford Courant - - Front Page - By Alex Put­ter­man aput­ter­[email protected]

They tran­scended the sport, draw­ing young and old peo­ple all over New Eng­land to be­come life­long fans and sup­port­ers of UConn bas­ket­ball. Both had style, class and extraordinary lead- er­ship qual­i­ties on and off the court. And now, the school will make sure Re­becca Lobo and Ray Allen are never for­got­ten.

UConn will re­tire the num­bers of the for­mer All-Amer­ica bas­ket­ball stand­outs, the school an­nounced Fri­day.

Fol­low­ing a cer­e­mony in early March, no UConn player will be per­mit­ted to wear Allen’s No. 34 or Lobo’s No. 50, which will be the first bas­ket­ball num­bers re­tired at UConn. Ac­cord­ing to an ath­letic depart­ment state­ment, UConn play­ers will be el­i­gi­ble to have their num­bers re­tired upon in­duc­tion into the

Na­tional Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame in Spring­field. Allen en­tered the Hall this past fall, Lobo was en­shrined in 2017.

“Re­becca and Ray are two UConn bas­ket­ball icons who were in­te­gral to the suc­cess and growth of both pro­grams and I am thrilled that we will be able to rec­og­nize them in this spe­cial way,” ath­letic di­rec­tor David Bene­dict said in a state­ment. “Re­becca and Ray con­tinue to be tremen­dous am­bas­sadors for UConn and we are proud of all their ac­com­plish­ments and grate­ful for their con­tin­ued sup­port of the univer­sity com­mu­nity.”

Allen and Lobo are al­ready mem­bers of the Huskies of Honor, with their num­bers hung at Gam­pel Pavil­ion along­side other UConn bas­ket­ball greats.

Allen av­er­aged 19 points over three sea­sons at UConn, while lead­ing the Huskies to three Big East ti­tles and three Sweet 16 berths. He then en­joyed an 18-year NBA ca­reer in which he set the league record for 3-point field goals and drilled one of the most mem­o­rable shots in bas­ket­ball history, at the end of reg­u­la­tion dur­ing Game 6 of the 2013 Fi­nals, help­ing the Mi­ami Heat to a ti­tle.

Lobo won numer­ous women’s col­lege bas­ket­ball player-of-the-year awards in 1994-1995 as she led UConn to an un­de­feated sea­son and its first na­tional cham­pi­onship. After leav­ing Storrs with 2,133 ca­reer points and 1,268 ca­reer re­bounds, she went on to com­pete in the Olympics and in the WNBA and now works as a color com­men­ta­tor on ESPN’s women’s bas­ket­ball cov­er­age.

"I spent four amaz­ing years wear­ing the No. 50 on my UConn jersey and am hon­ored and thrilled that it will have a per­ma­nent home in the rafters of Gam­pel Pavil­ion,” Lobo said in a state­ment.

Added Allen: “It’s truly a great honor. I know in the history of the pro­gram, no­body has had their number re­tired and to be the first is re­ally un­fath­omable to me.”

In the two decades since they played at UConn, Lobo and Allen have re­mained en­gaged with the univer­sity in var­i­ous ways, re­turn­ing for events and speak­ing fre­quently about their time in Storrs. Dur­ing her Hall of Fame speech, Lobo called go­ing to UConn “the best bas­ket­ball de­ci­sion of my life.” In his in­duc­tion ad­dress a year later, Allen ex­ten­sively thanked his col­lege coach, Jim Cal­houn.

Lobo and Allen were both part of the in­au­gu­ral Huskies of Honor classes in 2006 and 2007. Cur­rently, 21 men’s play­ers (along with three coaches and one team) have been en­shrined in the Huskies of Honor, as have 20 women’s play­ers (plus two coaches and five teams). There are no strict pa­ram­e­ters for in­clu­sion in the Huskies of Honor, though most play­ers were named All-Amer­i­cans dur­ing their col­lege ca­reers.

Lobo and Allen are the only for­mer Huskies who have been in­ducted into the Nai­smith Me­mo­rial Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame. Oth­ers, such as Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Maya Moore, are likely to be en­shrined when they be­come el­i­gi­ble, at which point they will likely have their re­spec­tive num­bers re­tired.

Over the years, other men, in­clud­ing Alex Ori­akhi and Hasheem Thabeet, have worn Allen’s No. 34. How­ever, no woman has worn No. 50 since Lobo grad­u­ated in 1995.

A UConn spokesman said Allen’s and Lobo’s number re­tire­ments will ap­ply only to the team each player com­peted for, mean­ing fu­ture men will still be al­lowed to wear No. 50, and fu­ture women will be able to wear No. 34.

BOB CHILD/AP

Ray Allen av­er­aged 19 points a game over three sea­sons atUConn, led the Huskies to three Big East ti­tles and three Sweet 16 berths, and had a long NBA ca­reer.

JOHN DUNN/AP

Re­becca Lobo led UConn to an un­de­feated sea­son and its first na­tional cham­pi­onship in 1994-95. She left Storrs with 2,133 ca­reer points and 1,268 ca­reer re­bounds.

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