STORRS, Conn. (December 26, 2006) - Thirteen players and three coaches representing more than 60 years of University of Connecticut men's basketball history will constitute the inaugural class of inductees in the UConn men's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.
UConn will officially recognize its men's basketball "Huskies of Honor" inaugural class of honorees in halftime ceremonies on Monday, Feb. 5, when the Huskies play host to Syracuse in a BIG EAST matchup at 7:00 p.m. that will be nationally televised by ESPN.
The three coaches to be honored in the men's basketball "Huskies of Honor" inaugural class include current head coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun, as well as former head coaches Hugh Greer and Dee Rowe.
The 13-player "Huskies of Honor" inaugural class includes 12 members of the UConn Men's Basketball All-Century Team as well as 2004 NCAA National Player of the Year Emeka Okafor (2001-04).
Joining Okafor as UConn All-Americans in the inaugural class of honorees will be Donyell Marshall (1991-94), Ray Allen (1993-96) and Richard Hamilton (1996-99).
Other former Husky stars in the inaugural class include: Walt Dropo (1942-47), Vin Yokabaskas (1948-52), Art Quimby (1951-55), Toby Kimball (1961-65), Wes Bialosuknia (1963-67), Tony Hanson (1973-77), Corny Thompson (1978-82), Clifford Robinson (1985-89), Chris Smith (1988-92).
Of the 13 players to be enshrined in the UConn "Huskies of Honor, six (Robinson, Smith, Marshall, Allen, Hamilton, Okafor) played their college basketball for Jim Calhoun, who will join his standouts in the inaugural class. Calhoun, the winningest coach in New England College Basketball history, is in his 21st season as Connecticut's head coach and has led UConn to a pair of NCAA National Championships in 1999 and 2004 as well as winning the 1988 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) title.
"We are proud to announce this inaugural class of the Huskies of Honor," says UConn Director of Athletics Jeff Hathaway. "The spectrum of this first class is extraordinary, including UConn's first to play professional basketball, our first 1,000-point scorer, several All-America selections and national champions, a National Player of the Year and a Hall of Fame coach. We look forward to honoring these UConn greats who have made such a tremendous impact upon this program."
Four honorees (Dropo, Yokabaskas, Quimby and Kimball) played at UConn under the guidance of the late Hugh Greer. Considered the "Father of UConn Basketball", Greer was head coach of the Huskies for 17 seasons (1946-63), compiling an overall record of 286-112. He passed away unexpectedly during the mid-point of the 1962-63 season.
Dee Rowe, UConn's nationally-known ambassador and a member of the Husky athletics family for the past 37 years, will join Calhoun and Greer as "Huskies of Honor" coaching honorees. Rowe served as Husky head coach for eight years, twice earning New England Coach of the Year honors and directing the Huskies to the 1976 ECAC New England Championship and an NCAA "Sweet 16" berth. He then moved into athletic administrative duties and established the fund-raising arm of UConn, the University of Connecticut Athletic Development Fund (UCADF). Dee Rowe also represented the United States on the international stage as assistant coach of the 1980 United States Olympic Men's Basketball Team.
The "Huskies of Honor" program will pay visible tribute in the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion to the top players and coaches in UConn men's and women's basketball history.
At the ceremony on February 5, honorees will be recognized with the unveiling of 16 four foot-by-five foot panels. The panels of each of the 13 players will include the name, uniform number and years of collegiate competition for the Husky greats. The honor will not retire that jersey number, allowing for future use of the numbers.
Included in the inaugural class of honorees are three players who each wore No. 42 during their college days at UConn---Toby Kimball, Tony Hanson and Donyell Marshall.
In addition to the large individual panels honoring the inductees that will be permanently displayed adjacent to the scoreboard at the West end of Gampel Pavilion, each honoree will also have a plaque that will be on display on the lobby level of Gampel Pavilion. The 16 plaques will include a photo of each honoree and summarize in text the top career achievements for each "Huskies of Honor" inductee. Those plaques will be installed the week following the game against Syracuse.
The Connecticut men's basketball "Huskies of Honor" inaugural class honorees include:
WALT DROPO (1942-47): Remains No. 2 in career scoring average 60 years after completing career (20.7/game avg. over 41 games and three seasons); Two-time All-New England (44, 47); Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; First-ever UConn "lottery pick"---No. 4 pick 1st round in 1947 BAA (Basketball Association of America-became NBA) inaugural pro basketball draft--Providence Steam Rollers; Selected in the 1946 NFL Draft as an end by the Chicago Bears; The 1950 American League Rookie of the Year with the Boston Red Sox (34 home runs, .322 batting average, led AL with 144 RBI and 326 total bases); 1950 American League All-Star; set major league record that still stands today with 12 consecutive base hits in 1952 with the Detroit Tigers.
VIN YOKABASKAS (1948-52): Three-time All-New England pick (50, 51, 52); Three-time All-Yankee Conference (50, 51, 52); UConn's first 1,000-point scorer (1,275 points); Scored 22 points in UConn's first-ever post-season NCAA game (1951); Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team.
ART QUIMBY (1951-55): Led NCAA in rebound avg. in 1954 (22.6/game); Ranked No. 2 in nation in rebound avg. in 1955 (24.4/game); Holds NCAA all-time record for rebound average by a senior (24.4/game in 1955); Ranks No. 3 (24.4/game in 1955) all-time in NCAA single-season rebound avg; Ranks No. 5 all-time nationally in career rebound avg. (21.5 in 80 games=1,716 rebounds); Ranks No. 7 all-time nationally with 1,716 career rebounds; No. 1 at UConn in career rebounds (1,716); No. 1 career rebound average (21.5); Totaled more points (1,398) and rebounds (1,716) than any player in UConn history; Three-time All-Yankee Conference (53,54,55); Two-time All-New England (54, 55); Member of four varsity teams that were 80-19 overall with an NCAA bid in 1954 and first-ever NIT bid in 1955; Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; Selected in 1955 NBA Draft by the Rochester Royals.
TOBY KIMBALL (1961-65): Led NCAA in both total rebounds (483) and rebound avg. (21.0/game) in 1964-65 as UConn was 23-3 overall and ranked No. 15 in the nation; No. 25 all-time NCAA single-season rebound average (21.0 in 1965); No. 2 at UConn in career rebounds (1,324) and career rebound average (17.9/game); Member of UConn's 1,000-point club (1,361 points); Three-time All-Yankee Conference (63, 64, 65); 1964 NCAA All-Region Team; Three-time AP & UPI All-New England (63, 64, 65); All-ECAC (64); Three-year varsity record of 57-21, three Yankee Conference Championships, three NCAA berths, including NCAA "Elite Eight" in 1963-64; In 1990, at NCAA "Final Four", honored by NABC as member of Silver Anniversary All-America Team; Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; Third round pick of Boston Celtics in 1965 NBA Draft; Played in Italy in 1965-66 and led team to European Championship; Began nine-year NBA Career with Boston Celtics and played for six different teams (571 games=3,870 rebounds and 3,470 points).
WES BIALOSUKNIA (1963-67): No. 1 in career scoring avg. (23.6/game); No. 7 on all-time scoring list with 1,673 points; Only player in UConn history to average better than 20 points per game in each varsity season; Single-season scoring record holder (28.0 ppg. in 1966-67); Three-time NABC All-District (65, 66, 67); Three-Time AP & UPI All-New England (65, 66, 67); Three-time All-Yankee Conference (65, 66, 67); All-ECAC (67); Helms All-American (67); First Team Academic All-American (67-first ever at UConn); Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; Fourth round pick by St. Louis Hawks in 1967 NBA Draft; Also selected in ABA Draft and played in 1967-68 for the Oakland Oaks; Had top three-point field goal percentage in ABA in 1968 (39.7%).
TONY HANSON (1973-77): No. 3 in career points scored (1,990 pts.); No. 1 career FGs (784); No. 2 in single-season scoring average (26.0/game in 1976-77); Yankee Conference Rookie of the Year (74); Two-time Yankee Conference First Team (75, 76); NCAA All-Region Team 1976 as UConn advanced to NCAA "Sweet 16"; ECAC All-Tourney Team 1976 as UConn won ECAC New England Championship; New England Player of Year 1977; USBWA District I Player of Year 1977; ECAC Player of Year 1977; Averaged a double-double in 1976-77 (26.0 ppg & 10.6 rpg); All-ECAC 1977; Three-time All-New England (75, 76, 77); Three-time NABC All-District I (75, 76, 77); Three-time USBWA All-District (75, 76, 77); UConn 73-38 in his four years, including one NCAA and two NIT appearances; Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; 1977 NBA Draft Pick; Successful European professional career as both player and coach.
CORNY THOMPSON (1978-82): No. 5 career points scored (1,810); No. 1 in FTs made (496); One of four members of the 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound club; Two-time All-Big East First Team (81, 82); Two-time All-East; ECAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in 1979 in leading UConn to ECAC New England Championship and NCAA bid; Two-time New England Player of the Year (79, 80); ECAC Tourney MVP (79); ECAC All-Tourney (79); Four-time All-New England First Team (79, 80, 81, 82); Four-time NABC All-District (79, 80, 81, 82); Three-time USBWA All-District (80, 81, 82); USBWA District Player of the Year (81); Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; NBA Draft Pick-3rd Round 1982 (Dallas); 12-Year European Career (6 in Italy, 6 in Spain-won European Cup title while in Spain).
CLIFFORD ROBINSON (1985-1989): No. 8 career points scored (1,664); 1988 NIT All-Tournament Team as UConn won 1988 NIT Championship; Two-time NABC All-District (88, 89); Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; 1989 Second Round NBA Draft pick; In his 18th season in the NBA in 2006-2007 (longest active tenure in league); Ranks No. 34 all-time in NBA scoring with 19,388 points entering 2006-07 season; Ranks No. 8 all-time in NBA games played with 1,330; NBA All-Star in 1994; NBA Sixth-Man-Of-The Year in 1993; NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team in 2000 and 2002; Participated in NBA Playoffs in 16 of 17 NBA seasons; (missed in 2004 with Golden State); Played with Portland (8 seasons), Phoenix (4 seasons), Detroit (2 seasons), Golden State (1 1/2 seasons), New Jersey (1 ½ seasons+).
CHRIS SMITH (1988-92): UConn career scoring leader, 2,145 points; No. 1 at UConn in scoring in Big East games (1,140 points in 64 league games); Led Big East in scoring as a senior (22.1/game); 1990 Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player (as a sophomore) in leading UConn to first Big East tourney title; 1990 NCAA All-Region Team; 1990 New England Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year; Three-time NABC All-District Team (90, 91, 92); 1992 All-Big East 1st Team; 1992 USBWA District I Player of the Year; Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; 1992 second round NBA Draft pick; Played three NBA seasons (scored 1,140 points in 224 games); Also played in Europe for four seasons.
DONYELL MARSHALL (1991-94): Connecticut's first consensus First Team All-American (1994); Finalist for National Player of the Year honors; Unanimous pick as Big East Conference Player of the Year in 1993-94 after leading UConn to 16-2 league mark and regular season title; Also named Big East Defensive Player of the Year; Led UConn and entire Big East in scoring and blocked shots-25.1 ppg. and 111 blocks; ECAC and New England Player of the Year as a junior (1993-94); Two-time All-Big East 1st Team pick (93, 94); Named to Big East All-Rookie team in 1991-92; Named Division I Rookie of the Year by the New England Basketball Coaches Association (1991-92); No. 10 on UConn all-time scoring list (1, 648 points); No. 7 in career scoring average (18.1/game); No. 2 in career blocked shots (245); Holds UConn record for single-season scoring (855 points); No. 3 in single-season scoring average (25.1 in 1993-94); No. 1 in FGs made in single season (307 in 1993-94); No. 1 in FTs made in single season (200 in 1993-94); Named to UConn Basketball All-Century Team; No. 4 pick in the 1994 NBA Draft; One of four players in NBA history to score at least 10,000 points, have at least 5,000 rebounds, and total at least 750 3-point field goals and 750 blocks; In his 13th season in the NBA in 2006-2007; Carried a 12.1 ppg. average in the NBA through 12 seasons while adding a 7.2/game rebound average; Has played for six NBA teams (Minnesota, Golden State, Utah, Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland).
RAY ALLEN (1993-96): Connecticut's first two-time First Team All-American; No. 2 in voting for National Player of the Year as a junior in 1995-96; Led UConn to three consecutive Big East Conference regular season titles (1993-1996) with a record-setting overall league mark of 49-5; UConn record in his three years was 87-12 with three trips to the NCAA Tournament (one Final Eight, two Sweet 16); 1995-96 Big East Player of the Year; Two-time All-Big East First Team pick; USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 1995; No. 4 on UConn career scoring list with 1,922 points and No. 4 in career scoring average (19.0/game); Career record holder in 3-point field goal shooting percentage (44.8%); Single-season record holder for 3-point FGs made (115); Leading vote-getter and honorary captain of UConn Basketball All-Century Team; USA Olympic Gold Medalist (2000); No. 5 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft; Six-time NBA All-Star in his first 10 seasons in the league; Carried a 21.2 ppg scoring average in first 10 NBA seasons; No. 2 all-time in career three-point field goals in the NBA; No. 8 all-time in NBA in free throw shooting percentage; Has scored 15,500 points in 10 NBA seasons; Played 6 ½ seasons with Milwaukee and is in his fifth season with Seattle.
RICHARD HAMILTON (1996-99): Two-time First Team All-American; Most Outstanding Player at 1999 NCAA "Final Four" in leading UConn to National Championship; Averaged 24.2 ppg in six NCAA games in 1999 title run; MVP of 1999 NCAA West Regionals; Two-time Big East Conference and ECAC Player of the Year; Two-time All-Big East First Team selection; Ranks No. 2 in career scoring (2,036 points); Ranks No. 1 in career scoring for three-year career; No. 3 in career scoring average (19.8/game); Named to the UConn Basketball All-Century No. 7 pick in the 1999 NBA Draft; Has career NBA scoring average of 17.8 ppg.; Leading scorer for Detroit Pistons each of the past four seasons; Leading scorer on Pistons' 2004 NBA Championship Team; 2006 NBA All-Star.
EMEKA OKAFOR (2001-04): NABC and Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year (2003-04) in leading UConn to 2004 NCAA National Championship; 2004 NCAA "Final Four" Most Outstanding Player; Two-time NCAA All-Region Tournament Team (2003, 2004); Two-time National Defensive Player of the Year (2002-03, 2003-04); National Big Man of the Year (2003-04); Two-time All-American (2002-03, 2003-04); No. 1 in career FG% (59.0%); No. 1 in career blocked shots (441); No. 1 in single-season blocked shots (156 in 2003-04); No. 3 in career rebounds (1,091); No. 16 in career scoring (1,426 points); Led nation in blocked shots (2003, 2004); 2004 National Academic All-American of the Year; Two-time First Team Academic All-American; Two-time All-Big East First Team selection; Two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year; Two-time Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year; Member USA 2004 Olympic squad that won Bronze Medal; Member USA 2003 Pan-American Games team; UConn's highest ever selection in the NBA Draft (No. 2 pick in 2004); NBA Rookie of the Year (2004-05) for Charlotte Bobcats; 2005 NBA All-Rookie Team.
HUGH GREER (Head Coach 1946-63): A 1926 graduate of the Connecticut Agricultural College; Returned to his alma mater as freshman coach and named head coach of the Huskies six games into the 1946-47 season; Led Connecticut to perfect 12-0 mark in remainder of first season as head coach (best single season record in school history to that point--16-2); Won 12 Yankee Conference titles in 16 completed seasons as head coach, including 10 consecutive titles from 1951-60; Led UConn to its first seven NCAA berths and one NIT appearance; compiled overall head coaching record of 286-112; Died (Jan. 14, 1963) after suffering heart attack at home 10 games into the 1962-63 season; Member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
DEE ROWE (1969-77): Named head coach at Connecticut in March of 1969 following highly successful prep school coaching career at Worcester Academy; Coached short-handed Huskies past Rhode Island 35-32 in famous "slowdown" game to win 1969-70 Yankee Conference title; Led UConn to back-to-back NIT berths in 1974 and 1975; 1975-76 team won ECAC New England title to earn NCAA berth; UConn beat Hofstra in NCAA overtime battle to advance to NCAA "Sweet 16"; Honored as two-time New England Collegiate Coach of the Year; Stepped down after eight years as head coach (120-88 overall, 88-48 in last five seasons); 300 career wins (300-132) as prep school/college head coach; Established highly-successful fund-raising arm of UConn Athletics (University of Connecticut Athletic Development Fund); Named Assistant Coach of the 1980 United States Men's Basketball Olympic Team; Member of the UConn Athletic staff for 37 years (1969-present); Member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
JIM CALHOUN (1986-present): In 21st season as head coach at Connecticut (495-177 as of Dec. 26, 2006); Has transformed UConn basketball program from regional contender to nationally-elite powerhouse; Enshrined in Class of 2005 as member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; Winningest coach in New England College Basketball history (743-314 overall record as of Dec. 26, 2006) in 35 seasons; Head coach at Northeastern University for 14 seasons before taking UConn post in 1986; Has led UConn to two NCAA National Championships (1999, 2004); Won 1988 NIT Championship in second season as UConn head coach; Consensus choice as 1990 NCAA National Coach of the Year; Only four-time Big East Conference Coach of the Year in league history; Has led Connecticut to an all-time league record 16 Big East titles (10 regular season, 6 tournament); Has compiled a 36-11 NCAA record at UConn with 11 trips to the "Sweet 16" and seven berths in the NCAA "Elite Eight"; UConn has earned 19 consecutive post-season tournament berths (14 NCAA, 5 NIT); No. 9 all-time in career NCAA wins (39-16); No. 13 all-time in NCAA Division I coaching wins.