Connecticut Huskies men's basketball


Connecticut Huskies men's basketball
Connecticut Huskies
2011–12 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team
Connecticut Huskies athletic logo

University University of Connecticut
Conference Big East
Location Storrs, CT
Head coach Jim Calhoun (25th year)
Arena Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, XL Center
(Capacity: 10,167, 16,294)
Nickname Huskies
Colors National Flag Blue and White

             

Uniforms
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
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Team colours
Away
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
Alternate
NCAA Tournament champions
1999, 2004, 2011
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1999, 2004, 2009, 2011
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1964, 1990, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1956, 1964, 1976, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011
NCAA Tournament Round of 32
1951, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1976, 1979, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011
NCAA Tournament appearances
1951, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1976, 1979, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011
Conference tournament champions
1990, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2011
Conference regular season champions
1941, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1970, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006

The Connecticut Huskies is the name of the men's college basketball team representing the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, Connecticut, USA. The program is classified in the NCAA's Division I, and the team competes in the Big East Conference. The team is currently coached by Jim Calhoun.

UConn has won three NCAA Championships (tied for sixth all time), and has appeared in four NCAA Final Fours. The Huskies have won seven Big East Tournament Championships and are 10-time regular season champions.

Contents

Early history

Men's basketball at UConn began in 1901 with a single game played by Connecticut Agricultural College against Windham High School in January of that year. The college team won, and by 1903 basketball was a varsity sport.

Coaching

Hugh Greer Era

After graduating from the Connecticut Agricultural College, former player Hugh Greer returned to his alma mater as a freshman coach. He was later named head coach of the Huskies six games into the 1946–47 season. Greer led Connecticut to a perfect 12–0 mark for the remainder of his first season. Posting a record of 16–2, this was the best single season finish in school history to that point. UConn won twelve Yankee Conference titles under Greer in 16 completed seasons, including ten consecutive titles from 1951–60. Greer also led UConn to its first seven NCAA berths and one NIT appearance while compiling an overall head coaching record of 286–112. Greer died of a heart attack in 1963, ten games into the 1962–63 season. He was replaced by George Wigton who led them to the NCAA tournament. UConn men's basketball was a regional power under Greer, winning eighteen Yankee Conference championships between 1947 and 1975—when the Yankee Conference dropped support of basketball—including twelve by Greer.

Jim Calhoun era

Prior to the 1986 season, Connecticut remained a regional powerhouse and had earned several NCAA tournament berths. In 1979, UConn was one of the seven founding schools of the Big East Conference, which was created to focus on basketball. Prior to the 1986–87 season UConn hired Jim Calhoun to be the program's new head coach; they finished the season with a record of 9–19. In 1988, the team showed significant improvement and gained a berth in the NIT. UConn went on a run in the tournament and defeated Ohio State 72–67 at Madison Square Garden to win the NIT, the school's first national basketball title.

The 1990 "Dream Season" would bring UConn basketball back to the national stage. Led by Chris Smith, Nadav Henefeld and Tate George, UConn went from unranked in the preseason to winning the Big East Regular Season and Tournament Championships, both for the first time. 1990 also marked the opening of Gampel Pavilion, the program's new on-campus home. In the NCAA Tournament the Huskies garnered a #1 seed in the East Region, but trailed Clemson 70–69 with 1 second remaining in the Sweet 16. Scott Burrell's full-court pass found Tate George on the far baseline. George spun, fired, and hit a buzzer-beater that is known in Connecticut simply as "The Shot". They would be eliminated on a buzzer-beater 2 days later by Duke, losing in overtime 79–78.

UConn continued to rise as a national program throughout the 1990s, winning five more Big East Regular Season and three more Big East Tournament Championships, as well as reaching several regional finals. The Final Four still eluded Calhoun and the program until the 1999 NCAA Tournament. With Richard "Rip" Hamilton leading the way, they claimed the program's first national title that same year.

National Championships

1999 NCAA Title

The Huskies were the top seed in the West region and a win over Gonzaga in the regional finals sent UConn to Tropicana Field for the Final Four. They defeated Ohio State 64–58 in the semi-final to face off against Duke in the final. Despite having been ranked #1 for half of the year, the Huskies entered the national championship game as 9-point underdogs.

UConn won their first national title with a 77–74 victory. Hamilton was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. This was an especially significant victory for the program, as it cemented Connecticut's reputation as a true basketball power after a decade of narrowly missing the Final Four.

2004 NCAA Title

In 2004, the Huskies returned to the Final Four. Once again, they faced Duke, this time in the National Semifinal, and used a late run to beat the Blue Devils 79–78. Two nights later, led by Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor, Connecticut won their second national title with an 82–73 victory in the final game over Georgia Tech. Okafor was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

The following night, the UConn women's basketball team defeated archrival Tennessee to claim a championship of their own. UConn became the first school in NCAA Division I history to have its men's and women's basketball programs win the national title in the same year.

2011 NCAA Title

UConn won both the Big East and NCAA National Championships in 2011.

UConn won eleven straight games in postseason play leading to the program's third NCAA Men's Division I Championship. On April 4, 2011, they defeated the Butler Bulldogs, 53-41. Many consider UConn's win in the Championship Game a great defensive performance holding Butler to only 18.8% from the field, setting a record for the worst shooting performance in a championship game,[1] and tying the Championship Game record with ten blocked shots.[1] Some argue that Connecticut did not play great defense, and that Butler simply played worse than UConn's own poor performance. The 53 points scored by Connecticut was, in turn, the lowest point total by a winning team in a championship game since 1949. An analysis by Sports Illustrated columnist Luke Winn credits the Huskies' defense by demonstrating, for instance, that they blocked or altered a staggering 26.6% of Butler's shots - compared to just 3.8 percent by Pittsburgh and 12.1 percent by VCU in earlier rounds.[2]

Huskies of Honor

On December 26, 2006, UConn announced the inaugural inductees into the "Huskies of Honor" recognition program. The class comprised 13 players and 3 coaches. The "Huskies of Honor" class was officially unveiled at a halftime ceremony during a game between UConn and Syracuse on February 5, 2007.[3] Former athletic director John Toner was inducted on February 28, 2009.[4] On April 5, 2011, Kemba Walker was the first men's basketball player to be added to the Huskies of Honor since the inaugural inductees after leading the team to a national championship.

The Huskies of Honor are each notarized by a four by five foot panel which displays his name, jersey number and years of service, and a plaque which summarizes each's career accomplishments.[3] Both the panels and the plaques are on permanent display at Gampel Pavilion on the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs, CT.

Players

Coaches and administrators

  • Jim Calhoun, Head Coach, 1986–present
  • Hugh Greer, Head Coach, 1946–63
  • Dee Rowe, Head Coach, 1969–77
  • John Toner, Athletic Director, 1969–87
  • James Doran, Assistant Athletic Trainer, 2005-present

Notable games

  • February 27, 1954 - Worthy Patterson's buzzer-beater at Holy Cross gave UConn an upset of the then-powerhouse Crusaders, 78-77.
  • March 14, 1964 - UConn upsets Princeton and star forward Bill Bradley 52–50 in the Sweet 16 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The victory was sealed when Dom Perno stole the ball from Bradley with 19 seconds to play. Perno would later become UConn's coach.
  • February 28, 1970 - With 4 players unavailable, and a share of the Yankee Conference Regular-Season Championship on the line, UConn beats Rhode Island 35–32 at the Field House, in what became known as "The Slowdown Game". Played before the shot clock-era, UConn dribbles endlessly for 38 minutes to make up for the limited roster and save energy.
  • March 30, 1988 - UConn defeats Ohio State 72–67 at Madison Square Garden to win the NIT.
  • January 27, 1990 - UConn beats #15 St. John's 72–58 in the first game at Gampel Pavilion.
  • March 11, 1990 - UConn beats Syracuse 78–75 at Madison Square Garden to win its first Big East Tournament Championship.
  • March 22, 1990 - Tate George hits "The Shot" to beat Clemson 71–70 in the 1990 Sweet 16 at Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
  • March 24, 1990 - UConn loses to Duke by one point in overtime, ending UConn's season. Duke went on to become runner-up to the national championship. Duke won the national championship the next year. The scars of this loss remained raw for many fans for the next 9 years.
  • March 9, 1996 - With UConn trailing Georgetown, led by Allen Iverson, 74–63 with 4 minutes remaining, the Huskies close the game with a 12–0 run and win the Big East Championship 75–74 on an off-balance floater from All-American Ray Allen at Madison Square Garden.
  • March 29, 1999 - UConn wins its first National Championship, defeating Duke 77–74 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • April 5, 2004 - UConn wins its second National Championship, defeating Georgia Tech 82–73 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
  • March 12, 2009 - "The game that wouldn't end" - In the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, the Huskies played a six-overtime game against Syracuse, the longest game in Big East history, and the

second longest game in NCAA history. UConn never trailed in the first five overtime periods, but Syracuse won 127–117.

  • March 10, 2011 - In the Quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament Kemba Walker lead #9 seed UConn past #1 seed Pittsburgh by sinking a 16-foot step-back jumper as time expired.
  • March 12, 2011 - In the finals of the Big East Tournament, the Huskies defeated Louisville by a score of 69-66 to claim their 7th Big East Championship, finishing a run unprecedented in NCAA men's basketball wherein they won five tournament games in five consecutive days, four of them versus top-25 ranked opponents including top tournament seed Pittsburgh, with junior All-American guard Kemba Walker, who scored a tournament-record 130 points in the five-game run, named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
  • March 26, 2011 - In the NCAA Tournament West Regional Finals, the Huskies defeated Arizona by a score of 65-63 to advance to the program's, and Coach Jim Calhoun's, fourth Final Four in 13 seasons. The victory was the Huskies' ninth in a row including the Big East Tournament, and is considered by many to be a remarkable team and coaching accomplishment given that the team was unranked at the beginning of the season, was projected to finish tenth in the Big East, and did finish ninth in the Big East regular season standings. Junior guard Kemba Walker was named Most Outstanding Player of the West Regional, and freshman forward Jeremy Lamb was also named to the All-Regional Team.
  • April 2, 2011 - The Huskies defeated Kentucky 56-55 in the national semifinals to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game against Butler.
  • April 4, 2011 - The Huskies defeated Butler 53-41 to claim the National Championship in Houston's Reliant Stadium.

Impact on the NBA

Since the 1990s, UConn has been recognized as being a consistent pipeline for players to enter the National Basketball Association. During the 2006–2007 season, there were an NBA-high 14 former Huskies on active rosters. During the 2008-2009 season that number was 13,[5] with three current UConn players expected to be taken during the 2009 NBA draft.

  • The 2006 Draft class was notable for tying the record of most first-round picks from one school, with four. With five players drafted in the two rounds, UConn tied for the second-most ever taken in an NBA draft.[6]
  • Two players (Clifford Robinson, 1992–93, and Ben Gordon, 2004–05) have been winners of the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.
  • Emeka Okafor was the winner of the 2004–05 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
  • Ray Allen was the winner of the 2002–03 NBA Sportsmanship Award, and is the NBA all-time leader in 3-point field goals made.
  • Five players (Scott Burrell, 1997–98, Travis Knight, 1999–2000, Richard Hamilton, 2003–04, Ray Allen, 2007–08, and Caron Butler, 2010–11) have won NBA championships.

NBA Players Past and Present

Season-by-season

  • 2010–11 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team
  • 2009–10 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team
  • 2008–09 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team
  • 2007–08 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team
  • 2003–04 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team
  • 1998–99 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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