Open Mic: UConn All-Time Lineup of Current NBA Players

gregory caldarellaAnalyst IAugust 7, 2008

UConn has been one of the most successful college basketball programs in recent memory.  They have produced the most NBA talent in the league to date out of any school.

Their coaching staff really gets their players NBA-ready, and that certainly is a nice sell in the recruiting process.  Do you want to develop your game and become a pro?  OK, then UConn is one of the best schools for you to attend.

Here's my UConn team that consists of players still playing in the NBA now.


C: Emeka Okafor

He was a defensive guru during his time in CT.  He altered a ton of shots for the opposing team and could take over a game on the defensive end alone.  He came into UCONN as a project and left a polished potential pro.

Okafor has yet to meet his full potential in the league, but I have confidence that he will only continue to get better.  Did I also mention that he is one smart dude?  He finished school at an accelerated pace, all the while notching a near-perfect GPA.


PF: Charlie Villanueva

He was a very highly-regarded talent when he chose to attend UConn.  He almost entered the NBA draft straight out of high school but found he wasn't quite ready yet.  He has all the tools to be a successful NBA player and has shown that if given the minutes he can excel, especially on the offensive end.

Villanueva is a combo forward that can play either SF or PF.  He has quick moves and a nice stroke on his jumper, but the knock on him is that he was a lazy player.  He left after only two years and was drafted in the first round.


SF: Rudy Gay

Jim Calhoun has called Rudy Gay the most talented player he had ever coached.  UConn very rarely gets high school McDonald's All-Americans, but Gay was a recent exception.  He brought his high-flying antics to Storrs and was part of a powerhouse team in his last season for the Huskies.

That team went on to get upset by Cinderella team George Mason in the NCAA tournament, and Rudy left campus following that season.  He has blossomed in the NBA so far as he enjoyed a nice breakout campaign last year.  He can do a bit of everything, including the highlight reel dunk.

It was just a shame he didn't stay at UConn long enough to reach his full potential.


SG: Ray Allen

Allen is simply one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history.  He has a smooth stroke and has a truly perfect jump shot form.  He recently was part of the Celtics' championship team and proved a key part to the team's success.

Allen was one of the first big superstars to come out of UConn and has not forgotten where he came from.  He is on campus in the offseason working out with the team and giving advice to younger players.

He started the tradition of UConn scoring guards—many have followed in his footsteps since.


PG: Ben Gordon

Gordon is not a PG at the pro level but ran the point for the Huskies.  He was not the typical pass-first PG but instead was a scoring guard playing the position.

He was an electric scorer, and when he got hot there was no stopping him.  He was streaky for most of his time at school, but he was a big part of the last UConn national championship team, where he formed a nice inside-outside duo with Emeka Okafor.

Gordon was known to hit clutch shots late in games, and he carried that tough mentality over to the NBA where he has hit some late-game daggers.


Honorable Mention

Caron Butler

Butler entered UCONN as a troubled youth, having already served jail time.  Coach Calhoun took a risk on this kid, and the move paid off for both of them.  Butler turned around his life and turned into a very solid player on both ends of the floor.

Butler has really found his niche on the Wizards and had an All-Star caliber year last season.  He also departed early but has UConn to thank for giving him a chance at redemption.

He would be in the starting lineup had I not gone to school for the Rudy years.  It's a tough decision either way you look at it.


Richard Hamilton

Rip was a gritty college player, and it was tough envisioning him becoming an effective starter in the NBA due to his size.  He proved me and a lot of other people wrong as he has become one of the most underrated players in the game.

He is a very hard worker and is considered a lockdown defender with a smooth jumper.  He was a member of UConn's first NC and he only got better every year from then on.