STORRS, CT (June 8) Former University of Connecticut mens basketball star Richard Rip Hamilton scored 21 points in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to help Detroit capture the championship title on Tuesday night in Detroit. Hamilton becomes the first Husky to win both an NCAA Championship and a NBA title.
Averaging 21.4 points per game in the finals, Hamilton has emerged as a powerhouse for the Pistons. He is also averaging 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
Hamilton, the Most Outstanding Player of the 1999 NCAA Final Four en route to the Huskies first national title, was a two-time All-American and BIG EAST Player of the Year during his three years at Connecticut. Hamilton was the No. 7 pick in the First Round of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards. After a two-year career with the Wizards, Hamilton was traded to the Detroit Pistons.
UConn has been fortunate enough to have a former player in five of the last six NBA finals. The Huskies have had a total of 13 players selected in the annual NBA Draft of college stars during the past 15 seasons and will add two more with both Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon declaring themselves eligible for the 2004 Draft.
Other notable Huskies that have captured NBA Championship titles include Travis Knight (1992-1996) and Scott Burrell (1989-1993). Knight played for the 2000 LA Lakers Championship Team, and most recently was a member of the New York Knicks. Burrell became the first UConn star to earn an NBA Championship ring with the Chicago Bulls in 1998.
Coming up short of an NBA Championship ring were Kevin Ollie, Donnie Marshall and Cliff Robinson, who all played in the NBA Championship series but ended as the runner-up. Ollie made a run with the Philadelphia 76s during the 2000-01 season and Donny Marshall was part of the New Jersey Nets in 2003-03. Finally, Robinson made two quests to the Championship title, both with the Portland Trailblazers during the 1989-90 and 1991-92 seasons.